Ex-president Saakashvili found guilty in Girgvliani case

Emmett Rice
January 8, 2018

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday criticized Georgia's court decision to sentence him in absentia to three years in prison for an alleged abuse of power.

The court added that Saakashvili had pardoned high-ranking officials involved in the Girgvliani murder as a result relieving them of responsibility that violated the rights of the bank official's family and the state's interests, Sputnik reported.

Now, Mr. Saakashvili wrote, Mr. Ivanishvili and President Poroshenko are coordinating the legal actions against him in Ukraine and Georgia.

"The so-called "ruling" against me by a Georgian court that is fully under control of Gazprom-shareholder Ivanishvili is absolutely illegal and contradicts all worldwide and domestic regulations and common sense", Saakashvili wrote on Facebook from Ukraine, where he now resides and is an opposition politician. "This is a revenge against me", he said at a press conference in Kiev.

Girgvliani, 28, who headed the foreign departments of United Georgian Bank, was found dead on January 28, 2006 on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi, after he was seen arguing in a bar with the high-ranking officials of the interior ministry.

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Saakashvili, who was president from 2004-13, left Georgia when his presidency ended and eventually went to Ukraine, where he was appointed governor of the Odessa region. While the Georgian government has sought his extradition for years, his troubles in Ukraine make that prospect more likely.

The Ukrainian leader past year stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship while he was overseas; Saakashvili returned to Ukraine in September and has led a series of protests against the government.

Saakashvili opposed the court ruling, saying it was "unlawful".

In November 2014, when Saakashvili was no longer the Georgian president, prosecutors charged him and other former Georgian officials of being accomplices in the falsification of evidence presented in the murder trial.

His Georgian citizenship was revoked when he got Ukrainian nationality in 2015.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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