He was detained in Italy on Sunday with the official story being that he was stopped in a routine check of documents. This seems a touch unlikely since Avakov, who is hoping to stand in the October parliamentary elections, and has not asked for political asylum, has never concealed his whereabouts and has openly crossed state borders.
The Italian authorities are presently awaiting material from Ukraine’s prosecutor general to back up their extradition request. Members of the opposition Batkivshchyna Party have written to the Italian authorities setting out their grounds for asserting that the prosecution is politically motivated. In Italy Avakov will be represented by two Italian lawyers.
The charges against the former Governor and popular opposition politician in Kharkiv are ominously reminiscent of those against Tymoshenko, former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko and others. In fact, pretty well everything is similar to those cases.