Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili said on July 30 in Budapest that one of the reasons behind bringing criminal charges against him was apparently to “restrict” his international travels and active advocacy for Ukraine .
He also said that he does not need to seek asylum any country.
“As far as I can understand main [purpose of] this decision to take this foolish, completely groundless, unfair and ludicrous [step]… is to restrict my movement,” he told Rustavi 2 TV in Budapest, where he met Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán.
“They [the Georgian authorities] are irritated by my active [advocacy] for Ukraine. How are they going to restrict it? As you see I am now here in one of the Europe’s main countries with its leader [PM Orbán],” he said.
Standing alongside with PM Orbán, Georgia’s ex-president said that there are only two countries where he cannot go – Georgia and Russia.
“This is temporary, very, very temporary,” Saakashvili said.
Asked if he thinks that he may require political asylum or if he had already been offered such, Saakashvili responded: “Why do I need a political asylum? As you see I am welcomed everywhere with great pleasure. I am welcomed very well in the United States – you have seen the U.S. reaction to [bringing criminal charges against him]… The only country which approves and which is happy about it [criminal charges against Saakashvili] is in the North [referring to Russia] and countries, which protect [Georgia], are angry.”
Charges against Saakashvili have been filed under part three of article 333 of the criminal code, involving exceeding official powers, committed with use of violence and insult of victim’s dignity, which carries imprisonment from 5 to 8 years as punishment.
Charges are stemming from break up of the November 7, 2007 anti-government protests, as well as raid on and “seizure” of Imedi TV station and other assets owned at the time by tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who died in February, 2008.
Several other former high-ranking officials have also been charged in the same case, among them Zurab Adeishvili, who was chief prosecutor in 2007 and then justice minister. Adeishvili, who is wanted in Georgia for other criminal charges, reportedly has an asylum in Hungary.
Although charges have been filed against Saakashvili, no arrest warrant has yet been issued. Prosecution can file a motion in court asking for pre-trial detention for Saakashvili in absentia. Prosecutor’s office is tight-lipped about when, if at all, it plans to file such motion in court.