Georgia: Former President Charged with Abuse of Power

Published: 29 July 2014


The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has charged the country’s former president and four others with exceeding official powers by retaliating against protestors during his tenure.

Mikheil Saakashvili is accused of illegally ordering police to violently suppress anti-government demonstrators and seizing the IMEDI TV station in November 2007.

Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili (Photo: European People's Party)According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Ivane Merabishvili, the former Minister of Internal Affairs, “is understood to have quoted the following” at a meeting on the protests: “A beaten man has no respect in Georgia and immediately loses influence. Create groups, beat them, aim for their kidneys, arrest, recruit, plant drugs on them. One Akhalaia brother will take care of them outside and the other Akhalaia brother will meet them inside.”

Saakashvili and Merabishvili were indicted along with Zurab Adeishvili, the former prosecutor general; Davit Kezerashvili, the former minister of defense; and Giorgi Ugulava, the former mayor of Tbilisi.

In a post on his official Facebook page, Saakashvili claimed that the charges were politically motivated, saying, “For almost two years, the govt and the majority lead [sic] by [former Prime Minister] bidzina ivanishvili have focused all their efforts not on pursuing the development of our nation and making it more secure, but on prosecuting their opponents and putting in jail leaders who have reformed the country for 9 years.” He also claimed that the charges were made to curry favor with Russia at the expense of relations with Ukraine.

Two defendants are already being detained on separate charges: Merabishvili, who later served as prime minister, was sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges in February, and Ugulava was detained earlier this month on money laundering charges, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. Saakashvili, Adeishvili, and Kezerashvili will be tried in absentia, according to a clarifying statement from the Prosecutor’s Office.

“I will be far away when oligarch Ivanishvili’s prosecutors will call for me and very close - when Georgian people need me,” Saakashvili said in another Facebook post. “They have never proved that I’ve been guilty in any crime as I’ve never committed one.”