Next Saakashvili Trial Hearing Slated for November 29

The Tbilisi City Court scheduled the next trial into the so-called November 7, 2007 case, in which Saakashvili is accused of exceeding authority, for November 29. The case involves a series of events, including the dispersal of the 2007 anti-government protests and a raid on and “seizure” of Imedi TV station, then the opposition channel.

The announcement was made during yesterday’s trial, which Saakashvili, currently placed at prison hospital against his will, was not allowed to attend. The Penitentiary Service cited the risks of a conspiracy by his supporters to obstruct the convoy and health concerns due to his weeks-long hunger strike as reasons to refuse the transfer. The Court said Saakashvili’s absence in the courtroom did not impede the trial, as it did not examine the evidence, but only discussed his pre-trial detention.

The Tbilisi City Court revoked yesterday the pre-trial detention over the case for jailed Saakashvili, ordered in absentia back in 2014. The prosecutor in the case, Jarji Tsiklauri said the Court found the pre-trial detention no more necessary as the former President, convicted on two other separate charges, is already serving 6 years in jail.

Tsiklauri said additional restrictions, including on phone calls, will remain in place for Saakashvili for “legitimate” purposes, pursuant to the Imprisonment Code of Georgia. Saakashvili’s defense lawyers said on October 5 the Prosecutor’s Office requested the prison facility to restrict the ex-President’s right to phone calls. The lawyers noted back then that such measures can only be applied to ongoing cases.

Meanwhile, Saakashvili’s defense lawyers continue allegations that trials are deliberately delayed to prevent the former President from addressing the public. They are waiting for the moment when Saakashvili’s condition reaches the point when he will no longer be able to walk or talk, Beka Basilaia, Saakashvili’s defense lawyer alleged.

But prosecutor Tsiklauri said they have filed a motion with the court to allow alternative settings to ensure Saakashvili’s public participation in the trial after his transfer was denied. Namely, he said the suggestions included holding the trials in the penitentiary facility or allowing Saakashvili to remotely take part in the trial, which – he said – the defense turned down. Saakashvili’s lawyer Basilaia said that the court refused to review the motion.


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