The messenger logo

Saakashvili sentenced in absentia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 4
The former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili was sentenced to imprisonment in absentia by Tbilisi City Court on August 1. The pre-trial detention was defined to the former Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili and former defense minister David Kezerashvili as well.

The accused have been charged with two cases: the dispersal of a peaceful anti-government demonstration on November 7, 2007 and the raid in Imedi TV.

The investigation of the crimes is being prosecuted under Article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which implies exceeding of official powers and carries an imprisonment term of five to eight years.

The lawyers of the accused claim that they will appeal the verdict. Saakashvili’s lawyer Otar Kakhidze says that the prosecutor questioned its key witness, former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze, after finding the accused guilty, but before that they had no evidence against the ex-president.

“This verdict was not illogical, because the prosecutor’s office is a tool for political persecution and nearly always it is supported by the Court,” stated Kakhidze.

Another lawyer Giorgi Gelkhauri also believes that these cases are connected to political persecution and accuses the current government in political revenge against former officials.

Prosecutor Irakli Nadareishvili denies all the accusations and says that they have many other witnesses aside from Burjanadze, who can prove that the accused officials are guilty.

Mikheil Saakashvili made a comment about his verdict from the US. He said that his arrest would be the country's most shameful page. He stresses that he has not committed any crime and will not have to be punished. Saakashvili denies that he will ask for political asylum.

“Putin could not have imagined a better gift for the anniversary of the war than an order of my arrest. Many Western politicians have called me worried about this fact and I feel sorry that instead of talking about the achievements of Georgia, I talk to them about Russian oligarch Ivanishvili’s obsessions, which coincide exactly with the interests of Putin,” Saakashvili stated.

According to the leader of the parliamentary minority, Davit Bakradze, with the decision to arrest Saakashvili, the current government took steps, about which it was warned from its strategic allies.

“The government has made decisions which instead of leading to the unification of the country, will bring more controversy and more polarization. The only side which met this decision with an approval and applause were Russia and Putin. It is a pity that the government's main priority is political persecution,” he stated.

Current government officials exclude any political persecution. They are speaking about the rule of law, court impartiality and transparency of the ongoing high-profile cases.