Saakashvili not allowed to attend trial hearing in case concerning him

Former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1 after eight years in political exile. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 10 Nov 2021 - 17:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has not been allowed by the Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia to attend a trial in Tbilisi City Court today which is discussing a case involving him. 

The case concerns the opposition rally dispersal in Tbilisi in November 2007 and illegal raid in Imedi TV, when Saakashvili was in office. 

Saakashvili has been charged with abuse of power in the case. 

The Special Penitentiary Service says that the opposition activists had plans to cause unrest on the streets during the transportation of Saakashvili to the court. 

The agency also stated that Saakashvili’s presence at the trial could have further complicated his health condition, as the former president has been on hunger strike for 41 days and has recently refused to take the medication to maintain strength. 

Saakashvili’s lawyers have addressed three judges in the case, Nino Eleishvili, Lia Orkodashvili and Maia Kokiashvili, to ensure the former president’s presence at the trial, which was declined by the judges. 

Later the lawyers demanded the change of the judges, accusing them of making an unfair decision. 

During today's trial the judges said that there was no need of preventive detention for Saakashvili as the former president is already serving his sentence, while the judges maintained the measure for former officials, Zurab Adeishvili and David Kezerashvili who also faced charges in the case and are currently on the run.

Next hearing will take place on November 29.

Former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who also faced charges for 2007 events, was forced to leave the trial as he was demanding Saakashvili’s presence. 

Saakashvili’s United National Movement opposition party, which held three rallies in Tbilisi earlier today, is now rallying in front of the court. 

The law enforcement are present at the scene in large quantities to ensure peace. 

Saakashvili was convicted in Georgia in absentia back in 2018 for abuse of power and was sentenced to six years in prison. 

He has also been charged with five other offences.