Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Wednesday welcomed reports of former President Mikheil Saakashvili planning to retire from political life, saying Saakashvili’s presence in domestic politics was “unlawful” as the former President held Ukrainian citizenship and chaired the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council before being arrested in the Georgian capital last year.
In his comments, Papuashvili stressed that if Saakashvili decided to withdraw from politics, as the former President’s lawyers said last week, the move would “in no way” lead to his release from prison.
Saakashvili’s political activities have nothing to do with his conviction and charges”, Papuashvili said, emphasising that “Saakashvili’s every appearance in Georgian politics, who is no longer a Georgian citizen, was an intervention in Georgia’s internal issues”.
The former President, who took the post of the head of the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council in May 2020, was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1,2021, after eight years in political exile.
Papuashvili stressed that Saakashvili's actions for years have aimed to spark tension in Georgia. Photo: Parliament of Georgia press office.
In brief about Mikheil Saakashvili:
- Mikheil Saakashvili served as Georgia’s third president from 2004 to 2007 and again from 2008 to 2013
- He is accused of the violent dispersal of anti-government mass protests on November 7, 2007; unlawful raiding of Imedi television company by riot police, illegal takeover of property owned by late media tycoon Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili and other cases
- In 2014 Saakashvili was officially charged for his role in several crimes in Georgia however by the time his case went through court he was already in Ukraine
- Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as the Odessa Governor in May 2015, but in November 2016 Saakashvili quit the post, accusing Poroshenko of corruption
- Prior to his appointment as the Governor of Odessa, Saakashvili received Ukrainian citizenship, therefore, his Georgian citizenship was automatically revoked
- In July 2017 Poroshenko annulled Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship and since then the latter had had no citizenship
- In 2018 Saakashvili was convicted in absentia for abuse of authority by the Georgian court and was sentenced to six years in prison. Currently he is serving the term
- However, Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky restored him the Ukrainian citizenship in May 2019
- Georgia had several times requested Saakashvili’s extradition from Ukraine, but the Ukrainian Government refused to do so