Court of Appeals Upholds Guilty Verdict against Saakashvili

The Court of Appeals upheld on November 22 a guilty verdict delivered by the first instance court against ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was sentenced in absentia on charges of exceeding authority and organizing attack against then opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili.

Tbilisi City Court delivered guilty verdict against Saakashvili on June 28, 2018. The ex-President was sentenced to six years in prison with a 2.3-year ban on holding public office.

According to the City Court, the attack on Gelashvili, a businessman and a member of the Republican Party, was organized in retaliation for his June 2005 newspaper interview in which he accused then President Saakashvili of seizing his property, and voiced insults against Saakashvili and his family.

After this interview was published, Saakashvili, “driven by personal revenge,” instructed then Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili to beat up Gelashvili. But after Okruashvili refused, Saakashvili ordered the same to then Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, who fulfilled the task on July 14, 2005.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, former director of the Special Operations Department, Erekle Kodua, and former head of division at the Special Operations Department, Gia Siradze, have already been sentenced in the same case.

Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s president in 2004-2013, left the country shortly after the end of his second term. He is wanted on multiple charges in Georgia, which he denies as politically motivated. Saakashvili has been actively engaged in the 2018 presidential elections, campaigning extensively for Grigol Vashadze through Facebook lives and his appearances at Rustavi 2, a television station leading strongly towards the opposition.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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