Judge: trial hearings may be held in prison if Saakashvili requests

Former president Mikheil Saakashvili says that he returned after eight years in political exile to remove the Georgian Dream government from power. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge. 

Agenda.ge, 15 Nov 2021 - 17:29, Tbilisi,Georgia

Tbilisi City Court Judge Badri Kochlamazashvili says that trial hearings in a case involving former president Mikheil Saakashvili may be held in prison if Saakashvili requests. 

Law allows the holding of trial hearings in prison if a defendant has no strength to attend hearings in a court and if the defendant requests them to be held in prison. We have not received such a  request from Saakashvili so far,” Kochlamazashvili said earlier today, after the Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia did not allow Saakashvili to attend a trial hearing in the court in an embezzlement case concerning him. 

Kochlamazashvili also stated that Saakashvili’s lawyers have not requested the hearings be held online. 

Saakashhvili’s lawyers say that the judge demanded the Special Penitentiary Service bring Saakashvili to the trial hearing. However, the agency ‘acted illegally’ and dismissed the demand. 

They claim that it is Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘who makes decisions on Saakashvili’s cases’. 

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

He has also been charged with five other offences, including the embezzlement of 8.8 million GEL in state funds between 2009 and 2013 when Saakashvili was serving his second term as the country’s president.