“Patrons” may assassinate ex-Pres. Saakashvili to “kill two birds with one stone” - Popular Force

Popular Force on Monday said “patrons” may get rid of Saakashvili as a “golden witness”. Photo: 1TV 

Agenda.ge, 16 Jan 2023 - 12:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

The imprisoned former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is “blackmailing his patrons to escape justice”, and the latter may order his assassination in custody to “kill two birds with one stone”, a statement by Popular Force, a movement founded by former members of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said on Monday. 

The statement claimed Saakashvili was “blackmailing” his unspecified “patrons” by “uncovering the details” of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war and goals behind his clandestine 2021 return to Georgia, using the information to exert pressure on the unnamed forces to ensure they in turn forced the Georgian Dream Government to grant his release on medical grounds. 

If the patrons are unable to achieve the goal, they may order Saakashvili’s assassination in custody. With this move, they will kill two birds with one stone: get rid of the former official as their ‘golden witness’ and place the full responsibility on the Government for his death to spark unrest in the country and drag Georgia into the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict”, the release said. 

The statement urged authorities to “exercise maximum caution” and “reject any of the plans” by the unnamed side, in order to prevent the developments as described by them.

The Popular Force has urged the authorities for caution. 

The claims are the latest in a series of controversial releases by the movement since its founding last year, with their previous allegations including accusations of the United States Embassy in Georgia interfering in the country’s judiciary, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy non-governmental organisation being partial in domestic politics, and more. 

Saakashvili, who currently holds Ukrainian citizenship, was arrested in Tbilisi following his clandestine return to the country after eight years in October 2021, just ahead of local municipal elections. 

Returning to Georgia while serving in a public position in Ukraine, the former President said his return had been aimed at aiding the United National Movement party opposition to retake office via elections, while the Government claimed he had been “sent” to spark internal tension.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, authorities have also claimed Saakashvili and UNM have been working to ensure Georgia’s involvement in the conflict. 

The former official is now serving a six-year-sentence for abuse of power while in office, on which he had been convicted in absentia in 2018. Three other cases against Saakashvili are pending.