In this week’s UpFront, we ask former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili about his latest legal travails and possible extradition from Ukraine to Georgia.
And in a Special Interview, we speak with Ilhan Omar, the Somali refugee-turned-US state legislator, about Donald Trump’s presidency and the increase in hate crimes since he took office.
Saakashvili: I ‘crossed the paths of oligarchs’
Saakashvili could be facing up to 11 years in prison on charges dating back to his time as president of Georgia, including abuse of power.
A court in Ukraine, where he currently resides and is also facing criminal charges, recently rejected his appeal for protection against extradition.
When asked about the possibility that he will be forced to go back to Georgia, Saakashvili believes the government in Tbilisi does not want him to return.
“[The] Georgian government, despite their formal announcements, are very scared that if I ever get extradited to Georgia, then they will just be wiped out by an unhappy populace, where their present government is extremely unpopular,” says Saakashvili.
Special Interview – Ilhan Omar: No debate on ‘whether Trump is a racist’
Hers is a remarkable journey: from a refugee camp in Kenya to a state legislature in the United States. In 2016, Ilhan Omar became the first elected Somali-American Muslim legislator in the US, the same night that Donald Trump was elected president.
When asked about Trump’s role in the rise of anti-Muslim, far right, white nationalist hate groups in the country, Omar says she would come very short of holding him “exclusively responsible”.
“I think when you … demonise and dehumanise, it is easy for people to commit acts of violence against those individuals because they no longer see them as a person, as someone who has feelings, who’s worthy of respect,” says Omar.
“We are moving away from this idea that we are supposed to be a welcoming nation.”
Source: Al Jazeera News