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Prosecutor’s Office Grills President for His View over Saakashvili’s Case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 9
(TBILISI)--Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has grilled President Giorgi Margvelashvili for his concerned statement over sentencing the country’s third President Mikheil Saakashvili to three years in prison in absentia.

The Prosecutor’s Office claims that Margvelashvili’s statement that his predecessor was sentenced for using the constitutional right of pardoning inmateswas “groundless and misleading to public.”

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giorgi Gogadze says that Saakashvili exceeded his powers when he pardoned the people arrested for the notorious murder case of Sandro Girgvliani back in 2006. He added that punishing a person regardless of his rank has always been fair in case of the law violation.

“No state official has a right to exceed his official powers,” Gogadze said.

Georgia’s former Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili believes that sentencing a president, if he exceeds his powersis in line with the law.

Usupashvili says, however, the Prosecutor’s Office used a “wrong article” to sentence the former President as it “lacked evidence” to charge him for the violations mentioned by the European Court of Human Rights in its verdict over the Girgvliani’s case.

“If the President used the right to pardon an individual for his silence or to take a bribe, he must be sentenced for taking the bribe or influencing a witness, and not for exceeding of official powers. Using the wrong article caused the stir over Saakashvili’s case,” Usupashvili says.

Margvelashvili declared that sentencing Saakashvili for using the right to pardon included risks for any president of Georgia and damaged the country’s international image.

Girgvliani’s case is one of the most notorious cases in the modern history of Georgia, which saw the murder of a 28-year-old man for the verbal abuse of the Interior Ministry officials under the United National Movement (UNM) government and the people affiliated with the former state leadership.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) obliged the Georgian state to pay compensation to the victim’s family in 2011, as it detected grave violations in the case.

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s office claims Saakashvili dealt with then Interior Ministry official Data Akhalaia to pardon the convicts of the Girgvliani case.

Saakashvili is charged for four cases in Georgia related to exceeding of official powers, embezzlement, rally dispersal and appropriation of real estate.

Saakashvili left Georgia shortly after his second presidential term expired. He is residing in Ukraine, opposing the current state leadership of the country.