Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s Office Declares Ex-President of Georgia Saakashvili Wanted

The Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine has declared that former Georgian President, a bitter rival of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, Mikheil Saakashvili, has been put on the list of wanted people.

Saakashvili is now facing three charges: Article 15 § 1 - criminal attempt; Article 28 § 2- criminal offense committed by a group of persons upon prior conspiracy; and Article 256 § 2 - assistance to members of criminal organizations and covering up of their criminal activity committed by an official.

Before that, Saakashvili faced only one charge: cooperation with a criminal organization. The other charges came after the Ukrainian protesters and supporters of Saakashvili freed him from the police van in which he was put after Ukrainian law enforcers searched his flat and detained him this week.

The van was blocked by protesters for hours, Saakashvili was eventually freed and repeated his calls for the impeachment of the Ukrainian President.

Before being detained on Tuesday, Saakashvili threatened to jump off the roof of his flat. He was later removed from the roof by Ukraine’s security service officers and taken to a van outside his apartment building.

According to Ukrainian media outlet Kyiv Post, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said that Saakashvili took $500,000 from fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Sergiy Kurchenko to organize protest rallies in Kyiv.

Lutsenko also said that the state security service had found evidence that Saakashvili contacted Kurchenko through his representative Severion Dangadze, and negotiated for financial support in exchange for defending Kurchenko’s business interests in Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office and SBU security service late on December 3 arrested Dangadze, who is the head of the Kyiv branch of Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces,” Kyiv Post said.

Lutsenko said Dangadze is accused of treason and cooperation with a criminal organization.

Right after being released by his supporters, Saakashvili marched to the parliament and called on his supporters to oust President Petro Poroshenko.

Later, he called on the protesters to arrange tents and asked the population to join them.

Kyiv Post reports that during the second effort to arrest Saakashvili, police on December 6 surrounded the protest tent camp. Law enforcers entered one of the tents, mistakenly thinking that Saakashvili was there, and beat the protesters within.

The demonstrators fought back against the police, built barricades out of tires and wood and put piles of stones along the camp’s perimeter to resist further police attacks.

As Kyiv Post says, Saakashvili and a number of protesters later went to the building of the nearby Kyiv Hotel and barricaded themselves in.

The police withdrew, having failed to arrest him.

Saakashvili’s party in Georgia, the United National Movement (UNM), also organized a protest rally to support him on December 6.

Party activists and supporters gathered outside the Rustaveli Metro station and marched to the Government Chancellery waving Georgian and Ukrainian flags.

Thea Morrison

07 December 2017 19:15