“Shameful” EP resolution confirmed Saakashvili is their “agent” - Georgian PM

The Georgian PM on Sunday slammed the European Parliament over the matters related to former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Photo: Government press office

Agenda.ge, 13 Mar 2023 - 14:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Sunday said the “shameful” resolution that called for the release of Georgia’s imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili on health grounds and was adopted by the European Parliament last month had “confirmed” the former official was “their agent”.

In his interview for Imedi TV, the head of the Government claimed the European body was expected to do “everything” to “save its agent” in Saakashvili.

Pointing to a “number of grievous crimes” committed by Saakashvili while in office, including his involvement in the 2006 high-profile murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani, physical assault on former MP Valeri Gelashvili in 2005, illegal seizure of Imedi TV in 2008 and charges related to corruption and illegal border-crossing by the former President, the PM stressed his Government would act “in full accordance with the law” in developments around Saakashvili. 

We will not break the law [by enabling the release of Saakashvili from prison], we will not violate the country’s Constitution. Today, Saakashvili is an inmate”, the PM said. 

Addressing those “who have kept an eye on his unruly campaign [to enable Saakashvili’s release] throughout the world”, Garibashvili said the former President had paid one million dollars to a firm in the United States to lobby for his release. 

He highlighted the US Foreign Agents Registration Act had allowed his office to receive the information on the lobbying campaign, and made a reference to public protests in Georgia last week over the now-shelved controversial law that proposed registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad.

It is the same law we were supposed to adopt in Georgia”, Garibashvili said in his interview, where he also claimed “all Europeans or foreigners equating Saakashvili with our country deny Georgia’s sovereignty”. 

“[Such people] do not respect our country, its independence, institutions and people”, Garibashvili said, noting Saakashvili’s Government, in power between 2004-2012, had “tortured and abused thousands of people”. 

Drawing a contrast to prison conditions under the UNM authorities and the current Government, Garibashvili stressed “all necessary services” had been ensured for Saakashvili in custody and his family had also been allowed to invite “any doctor from any foreign clinic” to monitor his health in Georgia.