A trial may be held for the former Georgian president on 11 December " />

Mikhail Saakashvili goes on a hunger strike

A trial may be held for the former Georgian president on 11 December

Mikhail Saakashvili, who was detained late last night, has gone on a hunger strike. He said that he would resist any attempts at being force-fed should the court decide to place him under house arrest for 60 days as a precautionary measure.

Information about Saakashvili being taken into custody from a friends’ home first appeared on 9 December around half past twelve at night, Tbilisi time. He was placed in pre-trial detention the same night. The National Police of Ukraine did not use force while detaining Saakashvili.

Saakashvili was also permitted to see his lawyers and be seen by doctors last night. His lawyers said that he was suffering from a severe cold, possibly even pneumonia, and that his blood pressure had increased since his arrest.

According to Saakashvili’s lawyers he denies all accusations made by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. “He has hope in the Ukrainian people,” said Ruslan Chernolutsky, Saakashvili’s lawyer.

“Mikhail Saakashvili has asked his wife Sandra Roelofs to be his primary spokesperson and public representative, to protect his rights and freedom,” his lawyer stated upon leaving the jail.

Pavel Bogomazov, another of Saakashvili’s lawyers, presumes that a trial will be held on 11 December and that a method of restraint will be determined then. The Prosecutor’s Office requires any accused of a crime to be placed under house arrest during the court-appointed term. The former Georgian president will wear a tracking bracelet to show his whereabouts.

As soon as Saakashvili’s arrest became known, hundreds of representatives of the “Movement of New Forces” (Saakashvili’s party in Ukraine), as well as ordinary Ukrainian citizens who sympathize with Saakashvili gathered near the building of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) where he was brought. ‘Shame!’ they chanted, blocking all of the building’s entrances and exits. They spent the whole night outside the SSU office, gathered around fires lit in metal barrels to stay warm.

REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko


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