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Georgian Dream initiates procedure to place Saakashvili on INTERPOL most-wanted list

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 2
Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze believes that the steps carried out by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office against former President Mikheil Saakashvili will be well received by Georgia’s allies.

Panjikidze states that the Prosecutor's Office is an independent body, which is investigating the Saakashvili case.

“Accordingly, steps taken by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office will be appropriately assessed by the international community,” Panjikidze said.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched procedures of putting Saakashvili on the internationally wanted list.

Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia to pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court on August 2 after being charged in relation to various criminal cases, including exceeding official powers, the violent dispersal of an anti-government mass protests on November 7, 2007, the unlawful raiding of Imedi television company by riot police, the illegal takeover of property owned by late media tycoon Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili and the spending of public money. He is already named on the national wanted list.

The opposition United National Movement called the government’s attempt ridiculous. Minority MP Giorgi Vashadze assures that the current government will fail if it decides to restrict Saakashvili’s free movement.

“Mikheil Saakashvili is supported by world leaders, these steps the current government is taking make them look ridiculous,” Vashadze said.

Giorgi Volski from the Georgian Dream coalition admits that there is nothing funny in the charges Saakashvili is facing and accuses the opposition party in disrupting the legal process through their provocative statements.

Commenting on the issue, Ambassador of the United States to Georgia Richard Norland said that the process of Saakashvili's possible inclusion on the INTERPOL wanted list should be conducted in accordance with highest standards of due process and the rule of law.

“I think it's also important for people to understand that there is a balance that must be struck in the current circumstances between dealing with these very important domestic issues, and with the need for unity and cooperation in the interests of dealing with the broader regional crisis that Georgia and its neighbors are facing given the events underway in Ukraine,” Norland said.