Former Georgian president Saakashvili sentenced to jail in absentia

5 Jan 2018- 11:31:00

5 Jan 2018- 11:31:00

"The city court of Tbilisi has brought in the verdict of guilty in the case on abuse of power as for Mikheil Saakashvili and set four years in custody as a punishment measure that have been reduced by one quarter within the framework of the amnesty law and finally the [punishment measure] will stand at three years in custody", the statement published on the court's website said.

Saakashvili, who was president 2004-13, left Georgia when his presidency ended and eventually went to Ukraine, where he had been appointed governor of the Odessa region.

Mikheil Saakashvili commented on the court ruling as well, saying "the 'decision, ' as well as the parallel legal process in Kyiv, clearly demonstrates that the oligarchic governments in both Ukraine and Georgia are working - in a synchronized and completely coordinated fashion with each other - against me as a leader of the fight against corruption, the oligarchs and the robbing the people". Georgia has requested Saakashvili's extradition but Ukraine has not complied.

UNM's Zaza Bibilashvili, who convened a special press briefing today, said the judge who preceded over the case was "a criminal", and accused him of following the instructions of ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the incumbent officials of the Georgian Dream government.

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A court in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, sentenced Saakashvili on Friday.

"This is the first time in the world when a president is being tried for using unlimited constitutional powers to pardon prisoners".

The court found Saakashvili guilty of abuse of power when pardoning people arrested for the 2006 case of the murder of Sandro Girgvliani. This murder case had caused public outcry in Georgia, because former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, Head of the Department for Constitutional Security Data Akhalaia and other high-ranking law enforcement officials were involved in the killing. Saakashvili returned to Ukraine in September and has led a series of anti-corruption protests against the government.

In his statement, Mr. Saakashvili called the ruling ridiculous and orchestrated by a political enemy, Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire and a former prime minister who has had business interests in Russian Federation.

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