Opposition slams president for her ‘strong refusal’ to pardon Saakashvili

President Salome Zurabishvili stated yesterday that she will never pardon former president Mikheil Saakashvili. Photo: president’’s press office. 

Agenda.ge, 04 Nov 2021 - 13:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Several opposition parties and members have criticized Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili for a recent statement that she will never pardon ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.

Zurabishvili said yesterday that Saakashvili, who was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1 after eight years in political exile, ‘is neither a political prisoner, nor a victim of injustice,’ noting that the former president returned to Georgia to incite unrest.

A member of Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, Zaal Udumashvili, says that Zurabishvili took the presidential post with the support of the ruling party and is now ‘fulfilling the demands of the party.’ 

I did not expect anything else from the president who was ‘appointed’ by the ruling party,” Udumashvili said. 

Opposition MP and former member of UNM, Salome Samadashvili, says that by her refusal to pardon Saakashvili, Zurabishvili is taking responsibility for a ‘severe political crisis’ which ‘will begin in the country due to fabricated elections and the arrest of the former president.’

Lelo opposition party MP, Anna Natsvlishvili, stated that Zurabishvili was ‘even afraid to clearly say’ that Saakashvili should be transferred to a civil clinic due to complicated health. 

Saakashvili, who is a citizen of Ukraine and chairs the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council, says he returned to Georgia to help his UNM party remove Georgian Dream from power. 

He has been on hunger strike since his arrest in Tbilisi on October 1. 

The Ministry of Justice has offered Saakashvili medical care in a prison clinic, which he declined. 

The government officials say that Saakashvili is ‘staging a show’ with his hunger strike, and has plans to cause unrest if he is brought to a civil clinic. 

The former president was convicted in Georgia in absentia back in 2018 for abuse of authority and was sentenced to six years in prison. 

He has also been charged with several other offences.