TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has rejected a call by his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili that it is a test of ‘decency’ to pardon three former top government officials who are convicted of crimes committed while in office.
Saakashvili, who is now governor of the Odessa region in Ukraine, says it will be a test of Margvelashvili’s decency whether he lets three top people from Saakashvili’s government go. He said this September 27, on the television channel Imedi’s news program ‘Kurieri PS’.
The three former officials Saakashvili wants pardoned are his close allies, former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia, former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. All of three of them were part of Saakashvili’s government and have been convicted of crimes committed while in office.
Merabishvili was first sentenced to three years in jail, and later another four and a half, while Akhalaia was sentenced to seven years and six months. When it comes to Ugulava, he spent more than a year in pre-trial detention, but was sentenced to four years and six months a few weeks ago, after spending one day out of jail.
Saakashvili recalled how he talked to Ugulava via Skype on his one day of freedom, predicting that he would be sent to jail the next day.
“President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s place in history will be measured only by one thing – if he will pardon the three person, who did incredible things for the Georgian state,” he said.
During a recent visit to the United States, Giorgi Margvelashvili said the pardoning of prisoners is not something to use for political justice or injustice and he will never allow to consider it in a political context.
“The pardoning mechanism remains a humane function of the state, and I want every politician who tries to view it within a political discourse, to understand this,” he said.