Ex-Georgian president Saakashvili on hunger strike after Ukraine arrest

Frederick Owens
December 12, 2017

"I consider myself a prisoner of Ukrainian oligarchs", he said in an apparent reference to the business background of Poroshenko, who ran a chocolate business before he was elected president.

According to him, the whole world community is watching this process.

Saakashvili, whose supporters last week hindered authorities seeking to arrest him, has denied the allegations and had gone on a hunger strike to protest his arrest.

He is under investigation for allegedly receiving funds from a fugitive businessman close to deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to launch a coup in Ukraine.

Saakashvili called for calm when police scuffled with supporters in the street outside and a smoke bomb was apparently thrown, saying that "we don't want confrontation". He acquired Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015 and was appointed governor of Ukraine's southern Odessa region.

The December 11 court hearing was convened three days after Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested in a flat in Kyiv on charges of assisting criminal groups and covering up their activities, and put in a pre-trial detention facility.

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Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is also an opposition leader, was in the courthouse and likened Poroshenko to Yanukovych.

Saakashvili was a key figure in the 2003 Rose Revolution protests that drove Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze from office.

The 49-year-old politician served two terms as Georgia's president from 2004 to 2013.

He won plaudits for his anti-corruption efforts but was criticized for getting the country into a disastrous war with Russian Federation. "One bad article after another is the shame of Ukraine".

"Putin is winning, he is laughing, he is roaring with laughter", Saakashvili said, ridiculing the concept that he and Russian authorities could possibly be plotting together.

"What was important was that we did not bow our heads and showed no fear, we did not let them scare others", Mikheil Saakashvili said in his remarks after the court hearing.

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