Ukraine again arrests Mikheil Saakashvili, ex-president of Georgia | News | DW | 08.12.2017
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Ukraine again arrests Mikheil Saakashvili, ex-president of Georgia

Earlier this week Mikheil Saakashvili was dramatically busted out of police custody by a mob of supporters. But authorities have now taken him back into custody.

Ukrainian special forces arrested the former-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday after he escaped from police custody earlier this week.

His official Facebook page posted: "Urgent. They have detained Mikheil Saakashvili," and called for his supporters to protest.

The latest arrest of the 49-year-old was confirmed by Ukrainian Attorney General Yuri Luzenko.

Read more: Supporters of Mikhail Saakashvili clash with police in Kyiv after stopping arrest

Saakashvili had been taken into custody on Tuesday, but a crowd of supporters freed him from a police van and swept him away.

He is being investigated for alleged support of a criminal organization, and allegedly receiving money from deposed Ukrainian former-President Viktor Yanukovych, who is currently exiled in Russia, to start a coup in Ukraine.

If found guilty he faces up to five years in prison. Saakashvili has denied any criminal acts and calls his actions legal and peaceful.

Supporters rally again

After the latest arrest about 100 of his supporters gathered outside a police detention center shouting "shame."

The former president of Georgia was a vocal champion of the three-month revolution in Ukraine in 2014 that toppled the Moscow-backed government and steered Ukraine closer towards the European Union. In reward, Poroshenko granted him citizenship and appointed him governor of Ukraine's Odessa region.

But their relationship soured when Saakashvili started campaigning against high-level corruption under Poroshenko's leadership. 

Saakashvili later resigned in protest of Poroshenko's alleged blocking of his anti-corruption efforts. He was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship in August while out of the country.

He first rose to international prominence after he spearheaded a pro-Western "Rose Revolution" in Georgia in 2003, later fighting a disastrous war with Russia that eventually led to him fleeing the country.

On Friday Poroshenko vowed Saakashvili would receive a fair investigation and trial.

"I don't exclude that the inquiry may ask for extra expertise, including from international organisations, to enhance trust," Poroshenko told reporters in Vilnius at a joint press conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

"He (Saakashvili) has to answer to investigators and to society regarding the accusations against him," Poroshenko said.

"If he doesn't answer, it only means that these accusations are well-founded."

aw/sms (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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