A leading Ukrainian opposition figure who has been detained in Italy is trying to remain in that country rather than going on trial in Ukraine.

A friend and political supporter of Avakov, Audrius Butkevichus, says the former Kharkiv governor wants to be tried in Italy because he thinks he will not get a fair trial in Ukraine.

Ukrainian prosecutors said this week they were working to secure Avakov's extradition from Italy.
Interpol's bureau in Rome has confirmed that former head of Kharkiv Regional State Administration and the leader of the Kharkiv regional branch of the Batkivschyna Party Arsen Avakov has been arrested for extradition.

"Our judicial authority in Rome has confirmed the temporary arrest of the mentioned person [Avakov] for the purpose of extradition to your country on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the judicial authority in Kharkiv on January 31, 2012," Interpol's bureau in Rome said in an official response to Interpol's bureau in Kyiv, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

Avakov's supporters say the case against him is politically motivated. BYuT-Batkivshchyna Party has decided to ask the Italian government to release Arsen Avakov.

Such a decision was unanimously taken by the representatives of the Batkivshchyna Party at its sixth congress in Kyiv on Friday.

"We are asking the Italian government to release Arsen Avakov, objectively consider his case and to ignore the lies being spread by the Prosecutor General's Office," the party's first deputy head, Oleksandr Turchynov, said.

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