Saakashvili Goes on Hunger Strike, Considers Himself Political Prisoner, Ombudswoman Says
23:39 GMT 01.10.2021 (Updated: 23:44 GMT 01.10.2021)
© REUTERS / GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTRYGeorgia's former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was detained after returning to the country, is escorted by police officers as he arrives at a prison in Rustavi, Georgia October 1, 2021, in this still image taken from video.
TBILISI (Sputnik) - Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili goes on a hunger strike after his arrest, he does not agree with the charges and considers himself a political prisoner, Georgian Ombudswoman Nino Lomjaria told reporters.
Saakashvili, who is a citizen of Ukraine, was detained earlier in the day in Georgia. The prosecutor in his case, however, said that having Ukrainian citizenship will not prevent him from serving a prison term.
"He is going on a hunger strike because he does not agree with the charges and considers himself a political prisoner," she said after visiting Saakashvili in prison.
After being detained, Saakashvili demands to provide him with the Ukrainian consul, since he is a citizen of Ukraine, Lomjaria said.
"He did not want to discuss how he had arrived in Georgia," she said.
According to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the authorities were informed about Saakashvili's arrival in the country, but during the day they denied this so as not to interfere with the secret operation to detain him.
The US State Department told Sputnik it was following the developments of Saakashvili’s detention and urged authorities to provide him “fair treatment, in accordance with Georgian law and Georgia’s international human rights obligations.”
Georgian authorities have been seeking Saakashvili's extradition since 2014, as they charged the politician with several felonies, such as abuse of power and the embezzlement of $5 million in state funds. In 2015, Saakashvili renounced his Georgian citizenship and became Ukrainian after he was appointed governor of Ukraine's Odessa region.