Saturday, December 16, 2017
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Mikheil Saakashvili freed by supporters in Ukraine

Former Georgian president was accused of criminal activities with police raiding his home and chaos ensuing.

Mikheil Saakashvili

Hundreds of supporters of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ripped off the doors of a police van to free him after he was briefly detained in Ukraine's capital.

Crowds gathered outside Saakashvili's apartment in Kiev during the police raid on the building on Tuesday. Supporters blocked the street with makeshift barricades, resulting in a standoff that lasted several hours.

He was later hauled off by officers into the police van, and in a chaotic scene, his supporters successfully moved in to release him.

Speaking to the crowd, Saakashvili called for the overthrow of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"I urge you to start a peaceful protest to remove Poroshenko; you should not be afraid of anything," he said.

Saakashvili and supporters then began a march through Kiev towards parliament.

Saakashvili has been a fervent opponent of the president since resigning as governor of the Black Sea Odessa region in 2016, claiming his reforms were being blocked by Poroshenko's allies.

His arrest was linked to alleged crimes in Ukraine, said Yuriy Lutsenko, the country's prosecutor general.

"Currently it's not a matter of deportation or extradition. It's a matter of questioning the suspect about a particularly serious crime," he said at a press conference before Saakashvili's escape.

Lutsenko accused Saakashvili of having contacts with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who was overthrown after violent demonstrations in 2014.

"By maintaining contacts with the criminal organisation led by Yanukovich, who obviously financed his political activities in Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili has crossed the line as a politician," Lutsenko said.

The prosecutor gave Saakashvili 24 hours to surrender to police. 

"After 24 hours, the entire law enforcement system of Ukraine will do everything necessary to make Mikheil Saakashvili stand in front of investigators," Lutsenko later told parliament.

Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship while on a trip to the United States in July, but forced his way back into the country in September.

He surrendered his Georgian citizenship because Ukraine forbids its citizens from having dual nationalities, meaning Saakashvili has since been stateless.

He is also wanted in Georgia on suspicion of trying to organise a coup after leaving office.

Saakashvili came to power in 2003 in Georgia's Rose Revolution and worked to remove the country from the Russian sphere of influence, introducing free-market economic policies and beginning NATO membership negotiations. He served as president for 10 years.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

May loses Brexit vote in parliament ahead of EU summit

Read More

Macron: World is losing battle against climate change

Read More

Ukraine authorities to appeal Saakashvili's release

Read More

EU shuns call to recognise Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Read More

Netanyahu seeks EU support on Jerusalem status

Read More

New drug offers hope for treating Huntington's disease

Read More

Global_News

Demonstrations against US recognition of Jerusalem turn deadly as Israeli troops open fire in Gaza and West Bank.

Read More

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Palestinians hold 'day of rage'