The former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, has appeared in court on charges of abuse of office but insisted all charges against him were politically motivated.
“I do not recognize the Prosecutor’s Office and the Georgian judiciary. I am not here to be part of a pre-written comedy,” Saakashvili said before the trial began.
Earlier, Saakashvili went on a seven-week hunger strike following his arrest before authorities agreed to transfer him from a prison clinic to a military hospital, where he ended his hunger strike.
The Georgian authorities initially banned him from attending the trial but later reversed the decision after the US Department of State demanded authorities to respect Saakashvili’s right to a fair trial.
Georgian police have arrested dozens of opposition supporters who rallied outside the court where Saakashvili faced trial.
Saakashvili served as president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013 before leaving for Ukraine at the end of his second term and lived there in exile for eight years.
In 2018, Saakashvili was convicted in absentia to six years in prison on two counts of abuse of office and now facing two more trials on similar charges.
Saakashvili was arrested on October 1 after returning to Georgia and has been in prison since.
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