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Charges against Saakashvili

By Messenger Staff
Monday, August 18
In the backdrop of signing the Association Agreement with European Union and the crisis in Ukraine, the Georgian government decided to politically destroy former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Several criminal charges have been filed against the former president, some of which carry lengthy prison terms. The Prosecutor’s Office has issued a warrant for Saakashvili’s arrest within the territory of Georgia. The next step will be asking Interpol to put Saakashvili’s name on their wanted list. Most analysts believe that it extremely unlikely that Saakashvili will be detained in any country – whether it be Europe or the United States. Nonetheless, these attempts are targeted to destroy him politically.

The first and major case against him was the brutal dispersal of the peaceful protesters in Tbilisi, in 2007. The second charge is the illegal seizure of an independent TV company and the expropriation of private property. Based on this charges, on August 2, the court sentenced Saakashvili to preliminary detention in absentia. Just a few days later there were extra charges filled against the former president related to the severe physical abuse of Valery Gelashvili in 2005, who then was an opposition MP. He miraculously survived the beating. On August 13, the former president was charged with the misuse of state funds. The prosecutor’s office estimates that 8.8 million GEL was used by Saakashvili for his personal use with the help of State Security Special Service Chief, Temur Janashia.

The charges against Saakashvili are of a different character. The first one is a political charge. Saakashvili and his party United National Movement state that a coup d’etat was attempted by the opposition headed by Russian Oligarch Bardi Patarkatsishvili. The second charge concerning the physical abuse of Valery Gelashvili was of a personal nature. The UNM claims that Gelashvili himself insulted the president and his family, so it should be proved that the president gave the order to beat-up Gelashvili. The third charge concerns the spending the state funds for personal purposes.

From 2009-2012, the president spent 20 million GEL from the state budget legaly, in the same period he spent almost 8 million gel in extra funds. The amount of these expenditures were made confidential. However, the current leadership of the country made it public. This particular case makes it very difficult for friends of Saakashvili and his solicitors abroad to defend him.

In February 2009 Mikheil Saakashvili invited massage therapist Dorothy Stein to Georgia. She rendered special services to President Saakashvili. Later she published a video of her visit to Georgia on her Facebook page showing the world her interaction with Saakashvili. The masseuse was allowed to enter and leave Georgia without being registered at the border. This was so the president could make the information about personal expenses confidential, and to conceal the fact that he was misusing state funds from the public.

Saakashvili and his team tried to defend themselves saying that the charges are targeted against Saakashvili as political revenge. Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page that he and his party are busy supporting Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression, while the current Georgian leadership spends its energy on fighting against patriots of the country.

During the 9 years of his leadership, some think that he has done a lot for the country, including carrying out several important reforms. However, many feel that these reforms were achieved at the expense of human rights, property rights, financial violations and other anti-democratic moves.