Georgian President says she will not pardon Saakashvili
“It is unpleasant for the president of the country when the former president is arrested in front of television cameras. However, this is required by justice and the rule of law, and everyone is equal before the law. Many today are asking if the president is going to pardon him. The answer is one, simple and definitive – no, never”, Zurabishvili said.
Salome Zurabishvili noted that “she will never forget the eyes of people who were expecting justice, but did not get it”.
“Therefore, I am committed to fighting against a regime that trampled on human rights, free business, and the law”, Salome Zurabishvili said.
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Saakashvili served as president of Georgia for ten years and two terms. In 2013, after his National Movement party lost the elections and the second term of his rule ended, Saakashvili left the country and has not returned to his homeland since.
All these years he lived in Europe and the United States, then settled in Ukraine, where he was first a member of the team of ex-President Poroshenko and the governor of Odesa, and then joined the opposition.
In recent years, he has chaired the reform committee under Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Saakashvili is currently not a citizen of Georgia – he automatically lost his citizenship after receiving the Ukrainian one.
Several criminal cases have been launched against Saakashvili who is accused of abuse of power, embezzlement of budgetary funds, dispersal of the opposition rally in November 2007 and the persecution of the Imedi TV channel. Saakashvili is also involved in the beating of deputy Valery Gelashvili and the murder of Sandro Girgvliani.
Saakashvili has already been convicted on two counts. In one case, he faces six years in prison. The Georgian authorities have repeatedly stated that the wanted ex-president will be arrested as soon as he returns home.
Speaking about his visit to Georgia, Saakashvili himself stressed that he was not afraid of arrest.
On October 2, Georgia will elect local self-government bodies. However, the opposition describes the elections as a referendum that will decide whether to hold early parliamentary elections and end the Georgian Dream’s nine-year rule in the country.