Ukraine prosecutor gives Saakashvili 24 hour deadline after escape
Ukraine’s General Prosecutor said former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had 24 hours to present himself to law enforcement, after his supporters helped him escape police custody on Dec. 5.
“I think by personally going to SBU (security service) investigators from 0900 onwards (on Dec. 6) ... Mikheil Saakashvili can help the country, which he loves, avoid unnecessary shocks,” prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said in parliament.
“After 24 hours, the entire law enforcement system of Ukraine will do everything necessary to make Mikheil Saakashvili stand in front of investigators.”
Scuffles broke out in Kiev on Dec. 5 after Ukrainian authorities accused Saakashvili of plotting a coup sponsored by Russia and attempted to arrest him.
Saakashvili, a former Ukrainian governor, fell out with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and was stripped of his Ukrainian passport.
He forced his way back into the country with the help of supporters in September and since then has led rallies calling for Poroshenko’s ouster.
The 49-year-old politician’s confrontation with Ukrainian authorities came to a head on Dec. 5 morning when police raided Saakashvili’s flat, prompting him to climb onto the roof of his central Kiev building and address supporters below before officers led him down into a vehicle.
Ukraine’s general prosecutor Lutsenko accused Saakashvili and his allies of receiving $500,000 from Russian sources to fund the rallies against the pro-Western Ukrainian government. Saakashvili called Lutsenko’s claim a “provocation.”
After his detention several hundred people gathered around the van carrying the politician and prevented it from moving, finally freeing him from it.Amid clashes, police and Saakashvili supporters used tear gas against each other.
After emerging from the van with a handcuff on one hand, Saakashvili urged his supporters to march to the Ukrainian parliament and demand the impeachment of the president.“There are millions of us, we are very strong,” he said.
Speaking earlier from the roof, he accused Poroshenko of being a thief and “a traitor to the people of Ukraine.”
“I call on all decent Ukrainians to take to the streets and drive out these thieves. I call on Ukrainians not to allow me to be abducted, I appeal to the people of Kiev not to allow lawlessness.”
He must appear before investigators on Dec. 6 morning, prosecutors said.