20 Nov 2023 16:51

Saakashvili urges Georgian president to pardon him, let him leave Georgia

TBILISI. Nov 20 (Interfax) - Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has urged incumbent President Salome Zourabichvili to use her right to pardon him.

"Ms. Zourabichvili may use her right to pardon, thus returning the father to my children and restoring the political balance in Georgia with one stroke of a pen. She is courageous enough to do it," Saakashvili told a court on Monday.

He should be allowed rehabilitation outside Georgia, he said.

Saakashvili announced he was taking charge of the Political Council of the United National Movement party that he founded. "I assume political responsibility for the return of experienced fighters, people somehow expelled from this body, to the party's Political Council. I undertake coordination of the Political Council. We should find common ground," Saakashvili told the court from Tbilisi's Vivamedi clinic.

It would be too early to nominate him for prime minister of Georgia. "I have heard that members of our party have called for my nomination to be prime minister, but it's too early to speak about that. It depends on numerous factors. We are going to win the parliamentary elections next year rather than come second," he said.

Saakashvili arrived in Georgia on September 29, 2021. He was detained and placed in the Rustavi prison on October 1, and went on a hunger strike. Saakashvili was transferred to a military hospital in Gori on November 20. After this, he ended his hunger strike. He was moved to the Vivamedi civil hospital in Tbilisi on May 12, 2022, and has remained there since then.

Saakashvili is a defendant in several criminal cases in Georgia. He has called his detention illegal and the charges falsified.