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Criminal charges against Saakashvili

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 29
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has brought charges against ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, former Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili; former Chief Prosecutor Zurab Adeishvili; former Minister of Defence Davit Kezerashvili and former Mayor of Tbilisi, Giorgi Ugulava.

The cases are about the dispersal of the rally in Tbilisi on 7 November, 2007; a raid on a Tbilisi television station – Imedi TV, and illegal seizure of assets of the family of Badri Patarkatsishvili.

Saakashvili was summoned to come to the prosecutor’s office in Tbilisi on July 28, at 11am. However, former President did not show-up at the Prosecutor’s Office. Saakashvili claims that his presence and interrogation might spoil Georgia’s relationship with the US and Europe.

Saakashvili was also summoned to appear on March 27 in connection with 10 cases at the Prosecutor’s Office, including the case pertaining to late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. However, Saakashvili refused to appear.

“When I decide to arrive in Georgia, no Russian oligarch will hinder me,” Saakashvili states.

“The Georgian Dream coalition has turned the judiciary into political machinery aiming at the elimination of the UNM and the destruction of my reformist legacy. As announced many times by the PM and his ministers, I am the next target. Obviously, this behavior will generate tensions with our American and European allies. However, it does not seem to bother Georgia’s current leaders, who have publicly claimed that they preferred to improve ties with Russia,” Saakashvili stated, adding that he will not let the current government destroy Georgia’s future, especially now that the world’s attention is focused on Ukraine and Georgia as well.

UNM members stress that Saakashvili’s summoning is a part of a political hunt. However, UNM MP Andro Barnovi suggests that Saakashvili’s arrival will end the coalition’s governance.

Barnovi states that after the expiration of his term, Saakashvili has dedicated his life to the fight against the occupation of Georgia and Ukraine. “Now he is implementing education programs in Georgia. In this situation, the government, which is very unsuccessful, the government that has failed to fulfill even a single promise, is in agony. Now it is doing everything to create legal obstacles. They are afraid of his arrival in the country, as they know as soon as Saakashvili enters Georgia, their era will end,” Barnovi claims.

However, Georgian Dream officials link the fact to judiciary procedures only.

“We are all equal before the law. We are building a fair country where the rule of law is the most important,” Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said.

Current President Giorgi Margvelashvili stresses that the issues should not have caused so much anxiety. He appealed to the former President to obey the law and respond to the questions being asked of him.