TBILISI, August 5 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office on Tuesday announced new criminal charges against the country’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, Novosti Gruzii reported.
“Charges against Mikheil Saakashvili and Vano Merabishvili have been launched over [abuse of office],” the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.
The charges come from allegedly organizing to have then-Georgian parliament member Valery Gelashvili physically beaten in 2005.
The country’s justice minister, Tea Tsulukiani, said Monday that Saakashvili could be also soon be put on the international wanted list.
On August 2, Tbilisi City Court upheld the claims of the prosecutor’s office in Georgia and ordered the pre-trial detention of ex-President Saakashvili, former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili and former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili.
The three were charged in absentia last week with abuse of power in connection with the crackdown on protesters in November 2007, the raid on Imedi TV and the acquisition of property.
Defense lawyers for the former politicians have already submitted a claim to the Tbilisi Appeals Court demanding a reversal of the decision.
Lawyers representing Saakashvili, Adeishvili and Kezerashvili insist the charges are purely politically motivated.
Former Interior Minister Merabishvili and former Tbilisi Mayor Giorgi Ugulava are also listed as suspects in the case.
The opposition Georgian Dream coalition won the country’s 2012 parliamentary elections, while the United National Movement, the ruling party since the Rose Revolution in 2003 and led by former President Saakashvili, became its rival. A year later, Giorgi Margvelashvili from Georgian Dream won the presidency, replacing Saakashvili.