Opposition slams Government for summoning Saakashvili

UNM members advise Saakashvili not to return to Georgia, where he would be questioned as a witness.
Agenda.ge, 22 Mar 2014 - 18:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

Members of the United National Movement political party and Parliamentary minority representatives are criticizing the Government for summoning ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili to the Chief Prosecutor's Office to be questioned as a witness on a number of high-profile cases.

UNM members slammed the Prosecution’s decision and advised Saakashvili not to return to Georgia, as he was currently out of the country.

One UNM leader Giorgi Vashadze believed the Prosecution’s demands were in relation to Saakashvili’s active participation in the developments of Ukraine and his role in the international arena.

Vashadze said Saakashvili was an important figure in the current geopolitical situation and had direct contact with world leaders who "share his opinions”.

"It seems this is unacceptable for the current Government. Unfortunately this is also unacceptable for Putin,” he said.

Vashadze did not know if Saakashvili would return to Georgia for questioning but said if investigators had questions for him, they should go to where Saakashvili was.

Former Tbilisi Mayor and current UNM member Gigi Ugulava advised Saakashvili not to return to Georgia and face questioning.

"In my opinion I would of course advise Saakashvili not to come and not to cooperate with, I do not want to use the word investigation, because when a person is summoned on 30 cases, it is no longer an investigation."

"Based on the national interests, he should not take this step, otherwise we will be dragged in this spiral and civil confrontations will begin. Only one person is responsible for this – the schizophrenic [Bidzina] Ivanishvili,” Ugulava said.

He also noted the Prosecution was following instructions of former Prime Minister Ivanishvili and current leader Irakli Garibashvili.

The country’s former Minister of Defence Bacho Akhalaia, who is currently detained, also advised Saakashvili not to return to Georgia.

In a statement shared on his Facebook page, Akhalaia said his example proved that transparent and fair investigations did not exist in this country and said any investigation led by a politician or non-governmental organization was directed towards misleading society.

"The whole state and unfortunately part of the judiciary has turned into a tool for political revenge. I call on Mikheil Saakashvili not to come to Georgia and not to play with the rules of the criminal government and thus do not let their Russian plan work,” read the statement.

A different point of view was offered by Prime Minister Garibashvili today. He said Saakashvili was "obliged to cooperate with the investigation” and answer all questions, including ones embarrassing for him.

In an interview with local newspaper Kviris Palitra, Garibashvili said no one stood above the law and his team was not building a state where privileged and untouchable people existed.

He said there was "nothing unusual” in summoning Saakashvili for questioning as this happened in all civilized countries.

"[Saakashvili] has to give comprehensive answers to all questions. He should erase doubts, help the investigation and give the process a proper direction. If he has retained a certain amount of discretion, he should come to Georgia,” Garibashvili said.

"He is obliged to come because he was the president of this country for nine years and the Prosecution, [which is the part of] the Government elected by the majority of Georgia’s population has questions towards him,” Garibashvili said.

He said if Saakashvili did not return to Georgia, the Prosecution would act in accordance with the law and a search for him will be announced.

The ex-leader has been summoned to appear at 1pm on March 27 at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.