Justice Minister: Vashadze Wants Presidency to Pardon Saakashvili

Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani claims the presidential candidate of the United Opposition, Grigol Vashadze, who is a member of the former ruling party United National Movement (UNM), wants to become president to later pardon ex-President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.

“Vashadze is fighting not for the presidency itself but in order to pardon Saakashvili,” Tsulukiani stressed, adding that the runoff to be held on December 2, is of utmost importance as it decides the future of the country.

The Minister called on society to unite and vote for the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) supported candidate Salome Zurabishvili.

“Our political aim is to portray the reality. The reality is that those who do not want to return to the past should unite and not vote for Vashadze,” she said.

Saakashvili, who is in exile now due to various charges against him in Georgia, established the UNM in 2001. In 2003-2012 it was in power, until the current GD coalition won the parliamentary elections.

The ex-President has said, however, that he will not seek a pardon from Vashadze.

“I do not need anyone’s pardon; I did not apply to Margvelashvili for pardon and nor will I apply to Vashadze … I have not committed any crimes against Georgia besides the fact that I built the Georgian state,” he said prior to Tsulukiani’s statements.

He stressed he intends to uphold his rights through legal means, “when there is a normal judiciary system in Georgia.”

Saakashvili also commented on the statement of Vashadze about pardoning the other former officials serving jail time in Georgia, saying if Vashadze becomes President, he has to hear the position of the Prosecutor’s Office before making his pardoning decisions.

Vashadze’s statement about the amnesty of former officials was also responded to by ex-Interior and Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, who is serving a sentence for various crimes. The last charges against him were upheld by the court in April 2018, when he was sentenced to nine years in jail for a high-profile torture case involving Colonel Sergo Tetradze in 2011.

Akhalaia released an open letter from prison, saying he has been serving a “completely unfair” sentence for 7 years already.

“I'm not going to ask Grigol Vashadze to pardon me. Regardless of my respect of him, I do not think that I need to be pardoned at the end of this unfair punishment…The political battles underway in the country today are so epic that I cannot let anyone manipulate my issue. I have already spent 7 years out of an unfair 9 years in prison and I can stand 2-3 years more,” he stated.

By Thea Morrison

Photo source: Imedi

01 November 2018 16:38
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