BEIRUT

World

Georgian prosecutors summon ex-president Saakashvili for questioning

  • In this file photo, Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili gives his state-of-the nation address in his residence in Tbilisi, Georgia, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

TBILISI: Prosecutors in Georgia on Saturday summoned ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili for questioning over a raft of criminal cases.

"The former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has been called in for questioning as a witness in criminal investigations," a statement from the prosecutor's office said.

The statement said Saakashvili has been summoned to appear on Thursday in connection with 10 cases including a possible probe into the 2005 death of former prime minister and his close ally Zurab Zhvania.

Some of the other cases relate to a police raid on an independent broadcaster, the alleged misappropriation of funds by the state security service and the illegal seizure of assets.

Staunch US-ally Saakashvili, a flamboyant reformer, ruled Georgia for around a decade until he left office at the end of his second and final term in power last November when an ally of his arch-foe billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was elected to replace him.

Dozens of Saakashvili allies have been placed under investigation for corruption and abuse of office charges since Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition took power at 2012 parliamentary polls that spelt the end of Saakashvili's 10-year grip on power, which was marked by a politically damaging 2008 war with neighbour Russia.

Last month a court in Georgia sentenced former prime minister Vano Merabishvili to five and a half years in prison for embezzlement in a case denounced as political persecution by his supporters.

Western officials have expressed concern over any investigations that could be perceived as being politically motivated, but the Georgian Dream government has repeatedly rejected any political motives behind the prosecutions.

Ivanishvili became Georgia's prime minister after the 2012 parliamentary election, but stepped down in November in favour of his hand-picked ally, 31-year-old Irakli Garibashvili.

But Ivanishvili is still believed to wield massive influence over Georgia's politics.

Saakashvili, who is not in Georgia at the moment, has taken up a post lecturing at Boston's Tufts university in the United States since leaving power. He gave a speech in Brussels on Friday.

 
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Prosecutors in Georgia on Saturday summoned ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili for questioning over a raft of criminal cases.

The statement said Saakashvili has been summoned to appear on Thursday in connection with 10 cases including a possible probe into the 2005 death of former prime minister and his close ally Zurab Zhvania.

Dozens of Saakashvili allies have been placed under investigation for corruption and abuse of office charges since Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition took power at 2012 parliamentary polls that spelt the end of Saakashvili's 10-year grip on power, which was marked by a politically damaging 2008 war with neighbour Russia.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here