14 December, Thursday


Saakashvili detained, home searched by Ukraine's security service - PHOTO - VIDEO

Politics

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Former Georgian President and ex-Odesa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili has been detained by Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) in Kyiv.
 
SBU spokeswoman Olena Hitlyanska told RFE/RL on December 5 that a search of Saakashvili's apartment was conducted along with investigators from the Prosecutor-General's Office. She did not mention the reason for the search.
 
Media reports in Ukraine quoted Saakashvili's associate, David Sakvarelidze, as saying that Saakashvili was on the roof of the eight-story apartment building where he lives while the SBU searched his apartment.
 
 
He was later taken from the roof by SBU officers and taken to a car outside his apartment building. But the car was unable to leave the site as dozens of people blocked its path.

Video on Facebook showed dozens of riot police around the apartment building preventing people from entering the premises.

The search of Saakashvili's home was conducted two days after his Movement of New Forces party organized a mass rally in Kyiv demanding the impeachment of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
 
Thousands of demonstrators dispersed peacefully after marching through the city center and holding a rally in downtown Kyiv.
 
The protests were initially called by Saakashvili, a onetime Poroshenko ally, but many of Ukraine's opposition political leaders also joined the demonstrations.
 
Saakashvili speaks from the roof of his apartment building before being detained.
 
From 2004 to 2013, Saakashvili was president of Georgia, where he is wanted on suspicion of trying to organize a coup there after his exit from office, allegations he denies.
 
In 2015, he was appointed by Poroshenko to be governor of the Odesa region and surrendered his Georgian citizenship to take the post.
 
However, Saakashvili resigned in November 2016, saying his reform efforts had been blocked by Poroshenko's allies.
 
Saakashvili was then stripped of Ukrainian citizenship by Poroshenko in June 2017 in a move he is challenging in court.
 
Poroshenko has said the real goal of the protest organizers is to destabilize Ukraine.

RFERL

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