KIEV, October 1. /TASS/. Head of Georgia’s ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili’s office in Kiev Maria Barabash has stated that there is no proof of his detention in Georgia and called the reports of his arrest a provocation.
"There is no proof of Mikhail’s detention. I think that this is a provocation to make him go online," she told the RBC-Ukraine news agency on Friday.
On Friday, Saakashvili wrote on Facebook that he had returned to his homeland eight years after his departure. Later, he published a video recording claiming he was in Georgia’s Batumi. After a couple of hours, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced that Saakashvili had been detained and taken to an appropriate detention facility.
Saakashvili served as President of Georgia from January 2004 to November 2013. In 2013, he left the country a few days before the expiration of his presidential term. Following that, four criminal cases were opened against him with verdicts returned on two of them. In January 2018, the Tbilisi City Court sentenced Saakashvili in absentia to three years behind bars for the 2006 murder of Sandro Girgvliani, an employee of the Georgian United Bank. In June 2018, the court sentenced him to six years in prison for the 2005 assault of lawmaker Valery Gelashvili.
In 2015, then Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko invited Saakashvili to his country granting him citizenship and designating him as governor of the Odessa Region. In July 2017, following a conflict, Poroshenko revoked Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship after which the politician was expelled from Ukraine. In May 2019, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky returned the citizenship to Saakashvili who came back to Ukraine and in a year was appointed as head of the executive committee of Ukraine's National Reform Council.