Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili arrested upon returning to Georgia
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested upon returning to the country on Friday, September 1, Interfax reported.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili confirmed Saakashvili’s detention during a briefing on Friday, saying that the former president had been transferred to a penitentiary facility.
“Our law enforcement officers carried out an operation at the highest level to detain Mikheil Saakashvili, [who was] wanted. Law enforcement agencies had preliminary information about his movement from Ukraine to Georgia, and this process was under full control,” Garibashvili said.
Saakashvili announced his return to Georgia on social media earlier in the day on Friday, saying that he was in Batumi. He also urged Georgians to vote in the local elections that are set to take place on October 2.
The Georgian authorities reported initially that Saakashvili hadn’t crossed the border into the country.
Mikheil Saakashvili was president of Georgia from 2008 to 2013. He fled the country shortly before the end of his presidential term. Four criminal cases were subsequently opened against him and he was convicted in absentia on several counts of abuse of power in 2018.
Saakashvili announced his plans to return to Georgia in late September, saying he would return to the country on October 2. Photos of his flight information later appeared on social media. In response, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili declared that Saakashvili would be detained as soon as he crossed the border.