The trial of former president Mikheil Saakashvili began in Georgia on Wednesday. He is accused of abuse of power in 2007. Several dozen protesters in his defense were detained in Tbilisi. The demonstrators demanded that Saakashvili be transferred to a civilian hospital.
As reported on Wednesday by the Georgian portal apsny.ge, the court session took place without Saakashvili, despite his defense attorney’s request that he could participate in it.
The case concerns the breaking up of a rally in Tbilisi in 2007. During the Wednesday hearing, the former president’s lawyer left the court in protest against the decision to hold the trial without the accused.
Prison services had previously decided that the politician would not be taken to court for safety and health reasons.
Saakashvili considers himself a political prisoner. He runs a hunger strike in a Rustavi prison. On Monday, he was transferred to the prison hospital in Gldani.
Detention in Tbilisi
On Wednesday, a group of demonstrators in Tbilisi demanded that the politician be transferred to a civilian hospital. The police detained several dozen people. Opposition activists were detained at the building of the State Security Service and the Ministry of Health, the portal Echo Kawkaza reported.
A representative of the police, Waza Siradze told reporters that demonstrators were trying to block the administrative buildings. According to the information he provided, 46 people were detained for failure to comply with the police orders, insulting an officer and hooliganism.
Back to Georgia
On October 1, Saakashvili returned to Georgia to – as he said – mobilize his supporters to participate in local elections. On the same day, he was arrested and imprisoned, and the authorities announced that he could not count on pardon or extradition to Ukraine.
The politician returned to Georgia despite the final and binding sentences. In the years 2004-2007 and 2008-2013 the president of Georgia was convicted of abuse of power while in office. In his opinion, the criminal cases initiated against him after opponents from the Georgian Dream came to power are politically motivated.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, of which Saakashvili is now a citizen, stated that it was disappointed with the transfer of the former Georgian president to a prison hospital and not informing the Ukrainian side about it.
PAP, apsny.ge, Echo Moskvy
Main photo source: ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE / PAP / EPA