The arrest of the former president upon his return from exile

The arrest of the former president upon his return from exile

Mikheil Saakashvili, in a video posted on Facebook before his arrest, called on supporters of his opposition party to participate in Saturday’s elections.

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Georgia’s former president and dissident Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested Friday 1 October upon his return from eight years of exile in his country, mired in a protracted political crisis and as crucial local elections for power are scheduled for Saturday.

This return and arrest could lead to serious tensions between the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party, which is increasingly unpopular in a Caucasian country accustomed to political feuds.

The charismatic reformer who has received acclaim and criticism, Mikheil Saakashvili announced Friday morning his return to his homeland, which he left in 2013. The government has warned him that he will be arrested immediately upon his return, being wanted for “abuse of power”, a case he considers political and for which he was sentenced in absentia Six years in prison in 2018.

The arrest and imprisonment of the third Georgian president, Mikheil SaakashviliPrime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Friday evening. He specified that the security forces had followed the movements of Mikhail Saakashvili from Ukraine and “I decided on a police operation where and when there were the least obstacles to arrest.”

In a video posted on Facebook on Friday evening before his arrest, the former president called on supporters of his opposition party, the United National Movement, to mobilize for elections on Saturday. “Go to the polls and vote and we will all celebrate our victory together”, he said, adding that he had “Don’t be afraid of anything.”

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