People's Power movement criticises McCain Institute for introducing “fake” claim over Saakashvili

Their statement said the acts had been “such obvious crimes” that “until now no one had dared” to “talk about illegality” of Saakashvili's imprisonment. Photo: People's Power, 23 Dec 2022 - 15:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

People's Power, a public movement established by the former ruling Georgian Dream party MPs who exited the team in June, on Friday criticised the McCain Institute, a Washington-based think tank, for introducing a “fake” claim in its statement about the latest developments around the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The response followed a statement by the McCain Institute on Thursday, in which the organisation called on Georgian authorities to promptly release Saakashvili and allow his transfer to a medical facility abroad for medical treatment, adding the former official had been imprisoned on a charge that had been described as “politically motivated”.

“Yesterday, the McCain Institute introduced a new fake, which no one had dared to do before. In particular, the Institute even doubted the legality of Saakashvili's imprisonment and called it politically motivated”, the statement said.

In their criticism of the comment, the members of the movement named cases involving Saakashvili or his former Government, ranging from his illegal crossing of the Georgian border in the clandestine return to the country from Ukraine in 2021, to the pardoning of individuals involved in the 2006 murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani by figures close to Saakashvili’s Government, and the ordering of the 2005 assault on businessman Valeri Gelashvili.

Their statement said the acts had been “such obvious crimes” that “until now no one had dared” to “talk about illegality” of Saakashvili's imprisonment.

However, it seems that for the authors of the 'Free Misha' special operation, their political goal justifies any unacceptable means, and the McCain Institute also had the gall to go for this brazen act”, the statement noted.

The comments from the movement also alleged the development as an “American special operation to rescue an ordinary agent of the global ‘war party’ reach[ing] a climax”, in reference to the United National Movement opposition party that has called for release or postponement of the rest of the sentence for Saakashvili.

“Along with American resources, representatives of European, Ukrainian and Moldovan agentocracies are fully involved in [this attempt to see Saakashvili released]”, the statement claimed.

Based on the fact that the sole purpose of this special operation is to revive the United National Movement, incite radicalism, overthrow the [Georgian] Government and open a second front in Georgia [amid the war in Ukraine], it is necessary for all branches of the Government to properly respond to the pressure and not allow anyone to successfully carry out the special operation”, the remarks concluded.