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Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced that former President Mikheil Saakashvili has been detained and taken to Rustavi prison near the country’s capital, speaking at a briefing in Tbilisi on Friday.

"I would like to inform our society that the third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been wanted, is now detained and transferred to a penal institution," said Garibashvili.

He also mentioned that the law enforcement officers conducted an operation to detain Saakashvili "on the highest level" as they had information "regarding his movement from Ukraine to Georgia, and this process had been totally under control."

"We understand very well that the former President [of Georgia] Saakashvili is guilty, he is a criminal. Unfortunately, he has been acting shamefully many times. But we treated this shameful man in a way our citizens and culture deserve," added Garibashvili.

Previously, speaking at the briefing, Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Darakhvelidze said that Saakashvili had neither left Ukraine nor crossed the Georgian border.

On Friday morning, the former head of state published a video message announcing his return to Georgia after spending eight years in Ukraine. The Interior Ministry refused to comment on the video.

Later, Saakashvili posted a video saying he was in Batumi. According to the local media, the day before the city’s port had received only two cargo ships from Romania and Ukraine due to a storm.

A local TV channel reported that Saakashvili had been in the Ukrainian city of Truskavets for four days. On the contrary to this, Saakashvili’s parties insisted that the politician was in Georgia and promised to provide the evidence on Saturday.

Saakashvili also urged supporters to rally with him on Sunday to protest after Saturday’s municipal elections.

The former president led the country from 2004 to 2013 and was later convicted in absentia on abuse of power charges, which he denied.

SOT, Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia (Georgian): "I would like to inform our society that the third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been wanted, is now detained and transferred to a penal institution. Our law enforcement officers conducted an operation to detain the wanted Mikheil Saakashvili on the highest level. The law enforcement officers had preliminary information regarding his movement from Ukraine to Georgia, and this process had been totally under control.

They held corresponding activities, the institutions were operating in coordination, and the time and place were chosen to minimise the preventive factors for his detention."

SOT, Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia (in Georgian): "We understand very well that the former President [of Georgia] Saakashvili is guilty, he is a criminal. Unfortunately, he has been acting shamefully many times. But we treated this shameful man in a way our citizens and culture deserve."

#Georgia #Tbilisi #Garibashvili #Saakashvili

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