Saakashvili refuses online participation in trial hearing in own case

Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is demanding direct participation in trial hearings in own cases. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 16 Nov 2021 - 14:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has refused online participation in a trial hearing today which concerns his illegal crossing from Ukraine to Georgia at the end of September 2021, Tbilisi City Court judge David Kurtradze said earlier today. 

Saakashvili wishes to attend the hearings in person. However, the Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia refuses to bring him to the court ‘to prevent provocations by opposition activists’, as well as complications in Saakashvili’s health, as he has been on hunger strike for 47 days. 

Saakashvili’s lawyers claim that the Georgian Dream government ‘is afraid of Saakashvili’s presence in the court,’ and ‘judges are fulfilling their [the government’s] demands.’ 

 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 offenses, including illegal seizure of property, embezzlement and illegal rally dispersal.  

Saakashvili, who is a citizen of Ukraine and chairs the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms  Council, says he returned after eight years in political exile to remove the Georgian Dream government from power.