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Saakashvili charged in two cases

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 30
The filing of charges against former president Mikheil Saakashvili has resulted in much speculation. Various members of the non-parliament opposition are ready to collaborate with law-enforcements and provide more information about the charges Saakashvili is currently facing.

On July 28, the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia filed charges against the former President. The Prosecutor’s office will appeal to the court to sentence Saakashvili to imprisonment in absentia. The criminal case pertains to the role of Saakashvili and his associates in two incidents: (1) the violent dispersal of anti-governmental mass protests on 7 November 2007; and (2) raids conducted against the private TV Company IMEDI by riot police and the illegal take-over of the property of Arkadi (Badri) Patarkatsishvili. Patarkatsishvili’s family has responded to the case, emphasizing that they are waiting for a fair process and punishment of all individuals who were involved in the deceased businessman’s property violations.

Together with Mikheil Saakashvili, other members of the former government are also being charged. The Prosecutor maintains that the illegal activities of the former government representatives of Georgia and its head Mikheil Saakashvili resulted in the breach of several human and civil rights.

The United National Movement (UNM) claims that the charges are related to the current government’s failure in the local elections, and Mikheil Saakashvili’s increasing international role and his active actions against Russia in the context of the Ukrainian developments. The UNM and Saakashvili himself stress that the founder of the coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili, who according to them, is serving Russian President Vladimir Putin, is aiming at destroying Saakashvili and his team.

“This is the final fight of a small, frightened man,” said the jailed Vano Merabishvili.

The majority representatives exclude any interference of Ivanishvili or politics in the issues ongoing regarding the former officials. MP Manana Kobakhidze states that the processes fit in legal frames only and the international community will be provided with all required information for dispelling any suspicions of political pursuit. Minister of Environment Sozar Subari suggests that there were systemic crimes perpetuated under the previous government and the related facts must be investigated and responded to adequately. MP Tina Khidasheli stresses that there are lots of cases and questions that have been accumulated in terms of Saakashvili and the UNM’s activities since Ivanishvili took office.

Former Parliament Speaker, leader of the non-parliamentary opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze welcomed the developments, stating that there are many other cases as well Saakashvili should be charged for. She admitted that she is ready to provide information over the above mentioned charges.

Head of the Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili states that the Prosecutor’s Office can announce an international warrant for Saakashvili as he no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity. However, he admitted that if the court does not sentence Georgia’s former President to prison, he will not be put on the INTERPOL wanted list