Saakashvili sentenced in Georgia to 3 years in absentia

Adjust Comment Print

A court in Georgia sentenced on Friday the country´s former president Mikheil Saakashvili to three years in prison in absentia for abuse of power.

"The "decision" by a Georgian court... regarding me is completely illegal and contradicts all the relevant global and national legal norms as well as common sense". "It also shows that Georgian authorities have not been able to find anything against me in the last five years - neither facts of corruption nor other violations of the law".

The Ukrainian leader a year ago stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship while he was overseas; Saakashvili returned to Ukraine in September and has led a series of protests against the government.

"According to my sources, [the issue was also discussed] by Poroshenko and Putin in a telephone conversation on December 29, 2017", Saakashvili wrote.

Today's decision was the first court verdict delivered in cases filed against Saakashvili in Georgia.

Girgvliani, 28, who headed the foreign departments of United Georgian Bank, was found dead on January 28, 2006 on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi, after he was seen arguing in a bar with the high-ranking officials of the interior ministry. According to the judge, Saakashvili promised the then chief of Georgia´s Constitutional Security Department to give the men pardons.

But the government that succeeded him quickly set about prosecuting him.

His Georgian citizenship was revoked when he got Ukrainian nationality in 2015.

"I do not exclude Mikheil Saakashvili's extradition [to Georgia] because the administrative resources of the two countries are working together" against him, Dekanoidze said in Tbilisi. Georgia has requested Saakashvili's extradition but Ukraine has not complied.

He said any move to extradite him to Georgia "would cause a change of power in Georgia and probably in Ukraine, too".

In his statement, Mr. Saakashvili called the ruling ridiculous and orchestrated by a political enemy, Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire and a former prime minister who has had business interests in Russian Federation.

In Ukraine, he faces investigation on charges of "aiding members of criminal groups and covering up their criminal activity". Currently, Saakashvili is involved in organizing anti-government protests in Ukraine.

He did not provide evidence to back up the assertion.