Georgia: the former president arrested on his return from exile


In a video posted on Facebook before his arrest, Mikheil Saakashvili called on supporters of his opposition party to take part in Saturday’s poll.

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Former Georgian president and opponent Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested Friday October 1 on his return from an eight-year exile in his country, plunged into a long political crisis and where crucial local elections for power are scheduled for Saturday .

This return and arrest could cause serious tensions between the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party, which is increasingly unpopular in this Caucasian country accustomed to political quarrels.

Charismatic reformer as much adulated as criticized, Mikheïl Saakachvili had announced Friday morning to be back in his homeland, which he had left in 2013. The government had warned him that he would be immediately arrested if he returned, being wanted for “abuse. of power “, a case he considers political and for which he was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison in 2018.

“Georgia’s third president Mikheil Saakashvili arrested and sent to prison”Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Friday evening. He said that the security forces had followed Mikheïl Saakashvili’s movements from Ukraine and “decided on a police operation where and when there were the least obstacles to arrest”.

In a video posted on Facebook on Friday night before his arrest, the former president called on supporters of his opposition party, the United National Movement (MNU), to mobilize for Saturday’s elections. “Go to the polls, vote and we will all celebrate our victory together”, he said, adding that he had “afraid of nothing”.



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