Georgian Prime Minister Says Ex-President Saakashvili Detained
(Bloomberg) -- Georgia said it’s detained former President Mikheil Saakashvili after he returned to the country from eight years in exile in defiance of warnings he’d be prosecuted for alleged abuse of power.
“The third president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has been detained and he has been transferred to the penitentiary,” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said in a statement Friday. “We knew about his location so it was very easy to do.”
Saakashvili had posted video late Thursday walking round the Black Sea resort of Batumi and calling on voters to oppose candidates from the ruling Georgian Dream party in local government elections taking place Saturday. The authorities initially denied that he had returned to Georgia.
“I risked everything -- freedom, life -- to be here,” Saakashvili said. “Go and vote.”
He fled Georgia after the incoming government of his rival, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, accused him of abuse of power shortly after he left office. The leader of the pro-Western 2003 Rose Revolution has repeatedly claimed from exile that the charges are politically motivated.
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