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Georgian ex-President Saakashvili detained in Kyiv

Mikheil Saakashvili. Photo:
Mikheil Saakashvili. Photo:

Ex-Georgian President, former governor of Odesa Oblast Mikheil Saakshvili has been detained in Kyiv, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko confirmed. He wrote on his facebook page that Saakashili had been detained in accordance with the search order by the National Police, who located him on vul. Vidradna in Kyiv, and that investigative actions and appeals to the court about the selection of preventive measures are planned.

“As promised, the security forces did everything to avoid extreme force and blood,” he wrote.

Reportedly, he is being held in the pre-trial detention center in the building of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on prov. Askoldovy in Kyiv. Journalists, armed law enforcement officers, and Saakashvili supporters are at the location.

Live broadcast:

600 law enforcement officers are at Saakashvili’s tent camp near the Parliament, a member of his political force “Rukh Novykh Syl” reported.

Saakashvili’s colleague David Sakvarelidze informed that Saakashvili was detained in his friend’s apartment at around 22:00. According to Sakvarelidze, there is no connection to Saakashvili. Commenting to Ukrayiska PravdaSakashvili’s lawyer, Ruslan Chernolutsky said he was trying to reach his client, but was not allowed to.

The situation at the SBU building:

This is the second time that Ukrainian law enforcement agencies detain Mikheil Saakashvili. On December 5, he was detained at his house, but his supporters managed to liberate him from the van he was being driven away in after a several-hour standoff. Then, nobody was injured.

That day, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko accused Saakashvili of receiving $500,000 from Serhiy Kurchenko, a runaway oligarch from the entourage of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, at a briefing, and presented a video he claimed contained the wiretapped conversation between Saakashvili and Kurchenko that proves this.

However, legal experts have said that the videos, even if they are true, do not contain any incriminating evidence.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko invited his old friend, the Georgian ex-President, to spearhead Ukraine’s reforms after the Euromaidan revolution, granting him Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili was appointed governor of the Odesa Oblast. However, the relationship between the two politicians went sour and Saakashvili started vocally opposing Poroshenko and his policies. Saakashvili was deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship when he was abroad earlier this year. Despite the lack of legal reasons to return to Ukraine, Saakashvili managed to do it with the help of protesters who helped him to cross the border.

Saakashvili initiated protests near the Ukrainian Parliament in October. Led by representatives of NGOs and politicians, protesters came out with the demand of a “great political reform”.

It included three main demands: to change the election rules, to create an Anti-Corruption Court, and to cancel parliamentary immunity. Later the representatives of NGOs stated that they are going to continue the protest in another format, while the politicians lead by Saakashvili stayed in the street calling for impeachment.

Last Sunday, on December 3, Saakashvili organized a large march and rally in support of adopting a law on the impeachment of the president. Two days later, his first arrest took place.

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