Opposition UNM party has condemned summoning of its chairman, ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, by the prosecution for questioning as a “political persecution”, which may derail country from its Euro-Atlantic integration path.
Gigi Ugulava, one of the UNM leaders, said that Saakashvili, who is now in Brussels attending the German Marshall Fund's annual Brussels Forum, should not appear before prosecutors.
“Prosecutor’s office is a blind political weapon… in the hands of [ex-PM Bidzina] Ivanishvili and [PM Irakli] Garibashvili,” Ugulava told journalists in Tbilisi. “I would advise Mikheil Saakashvili of course not to arrive [in prosecutor’s office] and not to cooperate with – I would not call it an investigation, because when a person is summoned in connection to thirty cases, it is no longer an investigation. He should not [appear before prosecutors] because of country’s interests; if we go into this spiral, it will lead the country to civil confrontation, which may substantially harm the country. The only person responsible for that is schizophrenic Ivanishvili.”
UNM’s foreign secretary, Giga Bokeria, who is now in Brussels, said that all those cases over which the ex-President has been summoned as a witness for interrogation were investigated and “fabricated” for the purpose of targeting Saakashvili.
“This is a very dangerous path; this is the path on which Yanukovych went down after winning elections and this path will boomerang very negatively for the current government; this path is very dangerous for our country,” Bokeria said.
UNM lawmaker, Giorgi Vashadze, drew parallel with developments in Ukraine and said that summoning of Saakashvili by prosecution will harm Georgia’s European course and it also directly suggests that the authorities are choosing “self-isolation” instead of the European path.
“This is a direct attempt to make Europe say no to our EU and NATO integration,” MP Vashadze said. “This scenario is actually similar to the one of Ukraine.”
Another UNM lawmaker, Giorgi Kandelaki, lashed out at prosecution’s decision in series of tweets, saying that it represents “sabotage” of Georgia’s European path; he also said that with such a decision in the midst of Saakashvili’s “successful efforts” to support Ukraine, Ivanishvili “disarmed those who argued he wasn’t pro-Russian” and “illustrates why the Oligarch is going that far.”
UNM MP Giorgi Gabashvili said: “It serves one purpose, which was declared long ago – destruction of a political opponent… It’s even more than that – this is an attempt to provoke a huge civil confrontation. This is an attempt to blindly execute all those wishes, which Vladimir Putin has in respect of Georgia. This is an attempt to endanger Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. This is a very obvious example of a policy directed against the country and its statehood.”
UNM MP Tina Bokuchava said the Georgian government is executing “orders from Putin.”
“This is really very dangerous,” she said, “European leaders were saying that if criminal charges are brought against Saakashvili, it will become Europe’s only talking point in respect of Georgia, instead of the Association Agreement.”