Saakashvili Stands Before Court Again

Jailed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili again stands before the judges today, as he was transferred from the Gori Military Hospital to the Tbilisi City Court to face trial in the misappropriation of public funds case.

In the criminal case, also referred to as the “Case of Suits,” Saakashvili stands accused of misspending some GEL 9 million (about USD 2.9 with current the exchange rate), an accusation which the ex-President and his defense lawyers dismiss as politically motivated.

The prosecution argues Saakashvili misspent public funds with expenditures such as staying in luxury hotels, spa resorts, visits to aesthetic clinics and receiving botox injections, among others.

The hearing was marked by loud exchanges between the prosecutors and Saakashvili’s defense lawyers. The ex-President also delivered another lengthy address from the courtroom, touching upon again the controversies of his presidency, discussing his mistakes and elaborating his position about the criminal charges.

Saakashvili’s address

Saakashvili called the prosecution’s accusation about “the legendary botox [injections]” a lie, and instead argued he had to receive skin treatments for a disease he suffered from following the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. “You can see on the photos [taken] after 2008 how swollen the face was,” the ex-President pointed out, adding that doctors thought the condition was caused by nervous issues.

As for stays in luxury hotels and spa resorts, the ex-President argued the visits served to further Georgia’s interests by hosting foreign leaders. Saakashvili noted that he hosted Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev at the “Verano Spa Resort” in 2008, adding that “what Ilham did for us during the war I will discuss later – either the supply of oil and gasoline to Georgia or supplies to the National Bank did not stop for a second.”

“Yes, I committed this sin, and this is why they should sentence me to several years?!” stressed Saakashvili, adding “Yes I was at a spa resort, and I was receiving procedures. But in turn, they did not close the border with Georgia, and kept the gas prices the same.”

Also, the ex-President argued that some of the expenditures he is being probed for concern public funds spent on hosting leaders of island countries that Russia was trying to persuade into recognizing Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

Saakashvili said he had taken up the advice of the Australian government to host the leaders of the island states to an informal gathering. “We chose Thailand, took these people there and gave them each very expensive gifts,” the ex-President stated, adding “I did not take this money out of my pocket, because I did not have it. This was the state [budget] money, [spent] so that the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia would not be legitimized.”

“We took them [to Thailand], flattered them, wined and dined them, showed them affection and gave them gifts,” continued Saakashvili. He went on to accuse the Georgian Dream government of being dissatisfied with the expenditures because they are “pro-Russian.” 


Besides the case, Saakashvili is being tried in two other cases – one over allegedly exceeding official authority during November 7, 2007 crackdown on anti-government protests, and another over illegal border crossing from on the night of September 28-29. He is already convicted in absentia by three instances of Georgian courts and is sentenced to six years in jail, including three years over pardoning police officials implicated in high-profile Sandro Girgvliani murder case and six years over organizing an attack on opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili.

Saakashvili became the first former Georgian President to face the Court on November 29, after he was brought in front of the justices for the trial in the November 7, 2007 case. Previously, he was denied the possibility to appear in the courtroom three times by the Special Penitentiary Service during his 50-days-long strike following his arrest on October 1.

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


Back to top button