President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that the authorities should “clearly show” that there is no political motivation whatsoever behind prosecution of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.
Meanwhile, Saakashvili, who is now in Warsaw, dismissed again charges against him as purely politically motivated and "not serious".
Asked if international concerns voiced over bringing criminal charges against Saakashvili is damaging Georgia’s image, Margvelashvili said in an interview with Imedi TV on August 7: "We all are working hard in this direction to avoid tarnishing of Georgia’s image as of a democratic country… I mean that everyone should be involved in these [efforts], including representatives of the opposition."
"On the one hand the authorities should clearly show during the trial that substance of questions in address to Saakashvili is not of political nature whatsoever – in democratic systems political responsibility is not decided in court, it is decided during elections and in the elections the Georgian public gave its verdict to Saakashvili. But in a courtroom there should be no political context at all; there should be only real evidence," President Margvelashvili said.
"On the other hand, Saakashvili himself, who is the citizen of this country and who was the president for two terms of this country, has a responsibility not before political actors, but before his own country to respect the investigation and to testify," he said. "In these conditions, I think that everyone – civil society, ombudsman, every citizen, including myself – will be able to speak undoubtedly that there is a democracy in Georgia, that there is no political persecution and everyone, including political actors, respect the judiciary and the state."
“Of course we are very thoroughly following comments that we hear from around the world,” Margvelashvili said referring to international concerns voiced over Saakashvili’s prosecution. “The entire Georgian society should respond to these comments by [showing] that there is a democracy in Georgia… and that everyone takes responsibility not to have political persecution and to respect the judiciary and the state.”
Saakashvili told Georgian journalists in Warsaw on August 7, that charges against him has nothing to do with legal process or justice.
Saakashvili was charged late last month with exceeding official authorities in connection with the break up of anti-government protests on November 7, 2007 and “seizure” of Imedi TV and other properties of late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Court ordered pre-trial detention for Saakashvili in absentia on August 2. Additional charges of exceeding official powers were filed against him on August 5 in which the prosecution claims Saakashvili ordered beating up of an opposition lawmaker in 2005.
“Perhaps Putin is now dancing – my arrest warrant was a gift for him on the anniversary of the [August, 2008] war,” Saakashvili said.
“Today I arrived here [Warsaw] and I am meeting Polish leadership; I was in Hungary where I met the Hungarian leader; from here I am going to Ukraine, where we are doing important work. I have a full scheduled every day – [interviews] with international press, televisions, I have many public speeches; how am I supposed to fit into this schedule arrival in Georgia and satisfaction of whims of Gazprom shareholder and oligarch just because Putin wants it? Where should I find time to arrive of my own free will, to get in dungeon and to say no to all of my [activities]? Of course I have no time for that; they [the Georgian authorities] have no capabilities either to do it [to bring Saakashvili to Georgia],” the ex-president said.
Accompanied by one of the senior figures in UNM opposition party Giga Bokeria, Saakashvili visited Warsaw Uprising Museum and laid a wreath at the memorial of Georgian officers of the Polish army at the museum. Saakashvili said on his Facebook page that in Warsaw he would meet Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski and speaker of upper houses of Poland’s parliament, Bogdan Borusewicz, who visited Tbilisi last month.
Foreign Ministry of Poland said in a statement on August 1 that bringing criminal charges against Saakashvili “could have the nature of a selective application of justice.”