Ex-Georgian president turned fugitive Saakashvili announces imminent return to Tbilisi, faces 9 years behind bars
Despite being sentenced to two prison terms, former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili – currently head of Ukraine’s National Reform Council – has announced he is returning home to re-enter the country’s political system.
On his Facebook page, Saakashvili explained that he had kept up to date with news from Georgia throughout his stint abroad and wants to get back involved. “When I hear about the events in Georgia, I know for sure that we can live much better, and every Georgian can be much richer,” he wrote. “And together, we will succeed. I’m coming back!”
In 2015, two years after leaving the presidency, Saakashvili was appointed governor of Odessa Oblast by Petro Poroshenko and granted a Ukrainian passport. This led to him being stripped of his Georgian nationality, as the country forbids dual citizenship. A year later, he was forced out by insiders in Kiev and moved to the US, where he lived in New York. Earlier this year, he was invited back to Ukraine by current President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In his Facebook address, Saakashvili called Ukraine his “second home.”
“I am Georgian. I am Ukrainian. I have always had and will always have two houses. I have always felt a duty to help both of my peoples.”
However, the return of the former Georgian president may not be so easy. Since his departure, Saakashvili has been the target of four criminal cases, of which two have already been determined. In absentia, he has been sentenced to a combined nine years behind bars for abuse of power.
According to Tea Tsulukiani, the Georgian minister of justice, Saakashvili will be arrested upon entry to the country. “Of course, we welcome him if he finds the strength to come to Georgia,” she said. “There is no doubt that he will be detained at the border and, of course, sent to a Georgian prison.”Also on rt.com TV star Tina Kandelaki claims she suffered 'harassment' from disgraced former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili
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