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Georgia Launches Criminal Case Against Ex-President Saakashvili

RIA Novosti

17:12 28/07/2014

TBILISI, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Georgian Prosecutor General's Office announced Monday it had launched a criminal case against the ex-Soviet republic's former President Mikheil Saakashvili and other top officials on power abuse charges.

"The case was launched into the November 7, 2007 crackdown on protest, the raid on the Imedi TV company and the [illegal] acquisition of property owned by Arkady (Badri) Patarkatsishvili," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

Former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, former Prosecutor General Zurab Adeishvili, former Defense Minister David Kezerashvili and former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava are also listed as suspects in the case.

Prosecutors have also initiated an investigation under Section 3, Article 333, of the Georgian Penal Code. It punishes "abuse of power linked to the violation of the victim's dignity" with a jail term of eight years upwards. Court charges are pending.

Saakashvili, now a lecturer and senior statesman at Tufts University in the United States, was due for interrogation at 11:00 a.m. local time (7:00 GMT). He responded to the prosecution's summon to return to Georgia with an open statement where he accused the government of political persecution and said he would never "take part in this farce."

In July, the opposition Georgian Dream coalition won the country's 2012 parliamentary elections, while the United National Movement, the ruling party since the Rose Revolution in 2003 and led by former president Mikheil Saakashvili, became its rival. A year later, Giorgi Margvelashvili from Georgian Dream won the presidency, replacing Saakashvili.

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