Former President Saakashvili was arrested shortly after his return to Georgia. According to the country‘s prime minister, Saakashvili was immediately transferred to prison. The country’s former leader was sentenced to six years in prison in absentia in 2018.
Earlier today, 53-year-old Saakashvili said he had returned for tomorrow‘s local elections in Georgia. “I risk my life and freedom by returning,” the politician said in a video.
Saakashvili has been convicted of abuse of power. He said the process was politically motivated. In the video, he calls on the population to support his opposition party.
Authorities initially contradicted that the former president is back in the country. Later it became clear that he had crossed the border anyway. Since 2013, Saakashvili stayed abroad, after a rival came to power. The Georgian government has since warned him to stay away.
Saakashvili was president of the Eastern European country between 2004 and 2013. He was opposition leader during the Rose Revolution in 2003, forcing President Sjevardnadze to resign. During Saakashvili’s presidency, Georgia was involved in a war with Russia. The country then lost control of the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Since his departure, the former president has stayed in several countries. Also in the Netherlands, where his wife Sandra Roelofs comes from. In recent years, Saakashvili has been active in Ukraine, where he was also governor of the city of Odessa.