Ex-president Saakashvili stopped in Greece

Saakashvili, who is wanted in Georgia, met his friends in Sarpi, border village between Georgia and Turkey.
Agenda.ge, 02 Sep 2014 - 17:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is wanted in his home country, has been checked in Greece after the ship he was on was stopped by local authorities.

Greek officials inspected Saakashvili’s passport, noticed Georgia had issued an arrest warrant in his name but because proceeding had not been completed, they were forced to let Saakashvili go.

Ambassador of Georgia to Greece Davit Bakradze confirmed the former president and ex-chairman of the government of Georgia’s autonomous region Adjara Levan Varshalomidze were on board a ship that was travelling from Turkey to Greece when it was stopped on Samos Island for about four hours.

The Ambassador said he had gained information about the incident from Samos Island’s chief of police.

"At 1800 a British-flagged yacht entered the island of Samos from the Turkish side, which was carrying Georgian citizens, including ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and ex-chairman of the Adjarian government Levan Varshalomidze,” Bakradze said.

He added, according to local police, during the border control process authorities checked Saakashvili's passport and during the inspection they received information that the Georgian side had filed a request for Saakasvhili’s arrest.

"However, given the fact that the procedures were not completed yet, Greece did not have grounds for the arrest,” Bakradze said.

"They say the ship was stopped on the island for four hours, after which it [continued its journey],” the Ambassador said.

Last week the Georgian prosecution announced it had launched proceedings to get Saakashvili named on an international Interpol wanted list. He is already named on Georgia’s national wanted list.

Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia to pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court on August 2 after being charged in relation to numerous criminal cases, including exceeding official powers, violent dispersal of an anti-governmental mass protests on November 7, 2007, unlawful raiding of Imedi television company by riot police, illegal take-over of property owned by late media tycoon Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili and spending of public money.