Tbilisi City Court launched hearing into a motion of prosecutor’s office seeking for a pre-trial detention for ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili in absentia, who has been charged with exceeding of official authorities.
The hearing, which started at 8:40pm local time on Friday, is presided by judge Spartak Pavliashvili, who was transferred to the Tbilisi City Court from Tetritskaro court on July 1, 2014.
Charges against Saakashvili concern break up of the November 7, 2007 anti-government protests, as well as raid on and “seizure” of Imedi TV station after dispersal of those protest rallies.
Saakashvili, who left Georgia upon expiration of his second and final presidential term in November 2013, dismissed charges against him as politically motivated.
Charges have also been filed in the same case against Vano Merabishvili, who was interior minister in 2007; then chief prosecutor Zurab Adeishvili; then defense minister Davit Kezerashvili and Gigi Ugulava, who at the time was Tbilisi mayor.
In February, 2014 Merabishvili, who is now jailed, was sentenced by the court to prison terms in two separate trials, one of them related to exceeding official powers in case involving break up of protest rally in Tbilisi in May, 2011.
Ugulava is now in pre-trial detention pending trial in money laundering charges; he is already standing trial in number of other criminal charges, one of them related to Imedi TV.
Kezerashvili is wanted in Georgia for other, unrelated criminal charges, but court in France declined Georgia’s request to extradite him.
Adeishvili, who reportedly received asylum in Hungary, is already wanted by Georgia for number of criminal charges.
Like in case of Saakashvili, prosecution is also seeking pre-trial detention in absentia for Kezerashvili and Adeishvili.
Defense lawyers of three former high-ranking officials said that charges against their clients are groundless and will try to convince the judge not to order any form of measure of restraint against their clients.