Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Ukraine Deports Mikheil Saakashvili to Poland

Ukraine Deports Mikheil Saakashvili to Poland

The development marks another twist in Saakashvili's ongoing political confrontation with Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko.

"This person was on Ukrainian territory illegally and therefore, in compliance with all legal procedures, he was returned to the country from where he arrived", The Independent quoted Slobodyan as saying. "I will certainly return to Ukraine".

Slobodyan reminded that in September 2017, the Ukrainian court found Saakashvili guilty of illegal crossing of Ukraine's state border.

Saakashvili's opposition party said in a statement that his lawyer "filed a petition on the kidnapping of the politician" to the police.

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But he was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship a year ago amid a standoff with the authorities in Kiev, whom Saakashvili accuses of corruption.

"I stand up for the idea of modernised, democratic, European Ukraine with an economy free of oligarchs [and] free of corruption because corruption is killing the economy", he said.

The former Georgian president and Ukrainian regional governor spoke to the press in Warsaw today, a day after he was detained by masked men in a Kyiv restaurant and hurriedly put on a plane. On February 5, his appeal against that decision was also rejected.

The deportation appears to bring an abrupt end to a months-long cat-and-mouse game between Mr Saakashvili and the Ukrainian authorities, which saw street unrest during previous attempts to arrest him. But he resigned his post in November 2016 in protest at what he said was ingrained high-level corruption and launched a campaign to oust his former ally. RFE/RL writes that Ukrainian authorities accuse him of having ties with a criminal group headed by former Ukrainian President Yanukovych, and of organizing protests on Russia's instigation.

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Saakashvili, 50, has denied all the charges, calling them "absurd" and politically motivated.

Georgian officials said they may ask Poland to extradite Mr Saakashvili, who was sentenced in absentia in his homeland last month to three years in jail, for abuse of power during nearly a decade as president.

In January, a Tbilisi court convicted Saakashvili of abuse of power in connection with a 2006 murder case and sentenced him in absentia to three years in prison.

"I want to stay a Ukrainian politician and fight the corruption".

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