"I believe in my own country" - Mikheil Saakashvili addresses the public from prison
The third president of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, who was detained on October 1 in Tbilisi, wrote a letter from prison:
“My dear comrades-in-arms and my Georgian people.
When I left Kiev and came here, I knew that, most likely, I would be arrested on trumped-up, false sentences handed down on Putin’s orders. No country in the world, except Russia, recognizes this verdict but I still came because I believe in my country and in each of you. I want to ask you all to go to the polls so that not a single vote is lost, and after that we must together defend the results of the referendum.
My freedom and, more importantly, the freedom of Georgia completely depends on your actions and readiness to fight. International support also depends on this. Please have no doubts and believe that our victory is in our hands, I love you, your faithful Mikhail Saakashvili”.
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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 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 initiated against Saakashvili. Saakashvili 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 of the cases, he faces 6 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.
Georgia will elect its local government on October 2, but the opposition describes the elections as a referendum to decide whether to hold early parliamentary elections and end the Georgian Dream’s nine-year rule in the country.