Former president Mikheil Saakashvili is ready to testify as a witness via video link before court and not before prosecutors alone if any of the cases over which prosecutor’s office wants to question him go into trial, ex-president’s ally from UNM party, Gigi Ugulava, said.
Ugulava said that he is conveying this message after speaking with Saakashvili via phone on March 28.
Ugulava said that if any of the cases under investigation are set upon hearing on merit and if a judge rules that Saakashvili should be questioned, the ex-president will testify via video link.
Ugulava said that such questioning before the court would “minimizes risks” coming from the authorities, which, he said, “want to politically destroy” UNM party and its chairman Mikheil Saakashvili. He said in an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV on March 28 that ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili uses prosecutor’s office as “a weapon for repressions”.
After being summoned by prosecutors for questioning as a witness in connection to ongoing multiple investigations last week, Saakashvili said it was part of “Ivanishvili-Putin game” and he’s not going to make “Putin’s dreams come true” by arriving in Tbilisi for interrogation.
On March 27 prosecutor’s office said it would offer ex-president questioning via Skype without the need for Saakashvili to arrive in Tbilisi. Prosecutors said the ex-president would have a week to respond; prosecutor’s office is expected to announce its further moves only after this deadline expires.
Speaking from Kiev on the same day Saakashvili rejected offer to be questioned via video link by prosecutors; he said the process has “no legitimacy whatsoever” and he has no time to waste on “nonsense”.
According to the law if a witness refuses to appear for questioning, the law enforcement agencies can file a motion to the court requesting for applying “coercive measures” to bring a witness before investigators.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said earlier on March 28 that Saakashvili’s refusal to be questioned via video link shows that the ex-president is “very scared” and “running away from tough questions.”
“By doing so he further fuels our suspicion – not only our but the international community’s suspicion as well,” Garibashvili told a government session on March 28, adding that Saakashvili will have to anyway respond to questions sooner or later.
Garibashvili said that with his refusal Saakashvili “ignored and insulted one of the most important state institutions.”
President Margvelashvili also said that Saakashvili’s refusal to be questioned via video link by prosecutors was an “insult to the state institutions.”
“It was very unpleasant when Saakashvili responded in such a scornful way,” Margvelashvili said in an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV on March 28.