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Ex-president Saakashvili found guilty in Girgvliani case

08 January 2018
Ex-president Saakashvili found guilty in Girgvliani case

In the Georgian court on Friday, Mr. Saakashvili was convicted of pardoning four police officers in 2008 without going through the presidential commission on pardons, Civil.ge, a Georgian news portal, reported. "This is a revenge against me", he said at a press conference in Kiev. "It also shows that Georgian authorities have not been able to find anything against me in the last five years - neither facts of corruption nor other violations of the law".

Girgvliani, 28, who headed the foreign departments of United Georgian Bank, was found dead on January 28, 2006 on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi, after he was seen arguing in a bar with the high-ranking officials of the interior ministry.

Saakashvili's government-appointed lawyer, Sofio Goglichidze, said after the ruling that the court violated "a number of legal provisions and the constitution" in convicting former Georgian president.

That relationship soured, though, after Mr. Saakashvili accused Ukrainian cabinet ministers and Mr. Poroshenko of corruption.

The Ukrainian leader a year ago stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship while he was overseas.

But the government that succeeded him quickly set about prosecuting him.

The Tbilisi City Court ruling drew criticism from members of the opposition United National Movement (UNM), who have been dismissing the prosecution's claims as "politically motivated", and have been stressing on the President's exclusive constitutional right to pardon prisoners. He was officially charged in Georgia in 2014, however, by the time his case went through court he was already in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko has accused Saakashvili of abetting an alleged "criminal group" led by Ukraine's pro-Russia former president.

Saakashvili also claimed that for several years Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Georgian and Ukrainian authorities to take oppressive measures against him.

Last month, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it would not discuss a possible extradition with the Georgian side.

He did not provide evidence to back up the assertion.