Saakashvili escapes pretrial detention in Ukraine on a judge's ruling

12 December, 2017, 18:32 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez

Mr Saakashvili's supporters scuffled with police outside the court building.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Ukraine's Justice Ministry is also still weighing an extradition request from Georgia for the former Georgian president to face criminal charges related to his years in power there.

On Sunday, thousands of Mr Saakashvili's supporters marched across Kiev, demanding his release and calling for Mr Poroshenko to be impeached. On December 9, prosecutors said they would ask a court to place him under house arrest with electronic monitoring pending trial.

The prosecutor general said last week that Mr Saakashvili had accepted $500,000 from a Ukrainian businessman hiding in Russian Federation who was connected to the Kremlin-leaning former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. He served two terms as Georgian president in 2004-2013, winning broad acclaim for his anti-corruption efforts, but drawing criticism over a disastrous war with Russian Federation and what his opponents saw as an authoritarian streak.

During the hearing he said, "I consider myself a prisoner of Ukrainian oligarchs", an apparent reference to the business background of Poroshenko, a wealthy businessman active in numerous sectors, most notably confectioneries, before turning to politics.

Inside the courthouse Saakashvili called on his followers to remain calm, saying "we don't want confrontation, we don't want any sharp moves".

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) has summoned the leader of the Movement of New Forces Party, Mikheil Saakashvili, for questioning on December 18 as a suspect in a criminal proceeding.

"You are jailing your opponents - the way Yanukovych did".

Saakashvili became governor of Ukraine's Odesa region in 2015 but quit a year later, accusing the authorities of sabotaging reform efforts in the region and nationwide.

Saakashvili, whose supporters last week hindered authorities seeking to arrest him, has denied the allegations and had gone on a hunger strike to protest his arrest.



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