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President Salome Zourabichvili Clarifies Position on Mikheil Saakashvili's Pardon

By Liza Mchedlidze
Friday, December 15, 2023
In her recent interview with Radio Liberty, President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili addressed the topic of a potential pardon for Mikheil Saakashvili. She clarified that she has not rejected Saakashvili's pardon, highlighting her policy of refraining from commenting on such matters unless she explicitly announces her intention to grant a pardon.

Radio Liberty interviewed the president on December 12 at the main office in Prague, discussing crucial political developments in the country as well as the president's plans.

"I didn't refuse; I don't comment on pardons unless I explicitly state that I will pardon someone. This, however, does not diminish the fact that he played a major role in putting Georgia on this [European] path. Not only him but also Shevardnadze played a significant role.

He was the first to open the gate. Zurab Zhvania, whose 60th birthday was celebrated a few days ago, played the main role. Everyone remembers that he was the first to declare: "I am Georgian, and therefore I am European." All these individuals, governments, and administrations have played their part. Unfortunately, the governments in Georgia, which started off very well, then sometimes start behaving a bit autocratically," Zourabichvili said.

The journalist also inquired with the president about the matter of pardoning Lazare Grigoriadis.

President Zourbichvili reiterated that she does not find it appropriate for the President to comment on individual pardons.

"This falls within the president's discretion. If you begin commenting and explaining, it may lead to discrimination against others who are also detained and seeking pardons, especially those without external support, including journalists from outside the country," Zourabichvili explained.