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Georgian law enforcement knew Saakashvili’s route from Ukraine in advance — PM

According to Irakli Garibashvili, the police intentionally picked the time and place for Georgian ex-President’s arrest to minimize potential complications

TBILISI, October 1. /TASS/. Georgian law enforcement knew in advance the route of ex-President Mikhail Saakashvili, who was detained earlier, beginning with his departure from Ukraine, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Friday.

"Our law enforcement had information on his movements in advance, starting from Ukraine and ending in Georgia. This process was under full control," Garibashvili said.

According to the Prime Minister, the police intentionally picked the time and place for Saakashvili’s arrest to minimize potential complications.

On Friday, Saakashvili said on Facebook that he had returned to his homeland eight years after his departure. The post was followed by a video, in which the ex-President claimed that he was in Georgia’s Batumi. Later on Friday, Georgia’s Prime Minister announced Saakashvili’s apprehension.

Saakashvili served as President of Georgia between 2004 and 2013. He left the country several months before the end of his term. Immediately after that, several criminal cases were opened against him, with verdicts already announced in two. In particular, he was sentenced to three years in connection with the murder of United Bank of Georgia employee Sandro Girgvliani, and to six years in prison in relation to the battery of lawmaker Valery Gelashvili.

In 2015, then-President of Ukraine Pyotr Poroshenko invited Saakashvili to the country, granted him citizenship and appointed him governor of the Odessa Region. In 2017, Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship following a conflict and expelled the politician from the country. In May 2019, the incumbent president Vladimir Zelensky restored his citizenship; later that month, the Georgian politician returned to Ukraine and chaired the National Council of Reforms’ executive committee.