Kyiv court turns down prosecutor's motion to place Saakashvili under house arrest

Marie Harrington
December 12, 2017

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Ukrainian opposition figure Mikheil Saakashvili was set free by a district court on Monday, December 12, following his arrest a week earlier for allegedly trying to topple the country's president.

Ukrainian authorities say Saakashvili is suspected of abetting an alleged "criminal group" led by former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russian Federation after his ouster in February 2014.

"I consider myself a prisoner of Ukrainian oligarchs", he said in an apparent reference to the business background of Poroshenko, who ran a chocolate business before he was elected president.

The court's verdict marked a defeat for Poroshenko, who has faced mounting criticism for his failure to uproot endemic corruption.

Saakashvili, who was refusing food to protest the arrest, said that the first thing he now wants is to get back home and eat.

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Leader of the Movement of New Forces Party, ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili said that he considers himself a prisoner.

The video shows supporters gathered outside the court house and marching with Saakashvili, stopping midway as he gave a speech. He was marched home by cheering supporters following the December 11 decision.

Tuesday's drama marked the latest chapter in the dizzying career of a man who spearheaded a pro-Western "Rose Revolution" in Georgia in 2003 and fought a disastrous war with Russian Federation five years later that eventually prompted him to flee the Caucasus country.

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. But the two men had a falling out; Saakashvili accused Poroshenko of corruption and subsequently was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship. Poroshenko this summer rescinded his Ukrainian citizenship while Saakashvili was out of the country, leaving Saakashvili stateless.

On Sept. 10, Saakashvili defiantly crossed into Ukraine from Poland without showing necessary documents to the border guards.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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