Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel. (112.ua.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was Monday criminally charged for the hardhanded crackdown on anti-government protesters and the storming of a TV station in Tbilisi on November 7, 2007.

Also charged along with Saakashvili are the top people in his government at the time, the then interior minister, chief prosecutor, defense minister and Tbilisi mayor, two of whom are currently in detention and the other two abroad.

The charges were announced after the former president failed to show up for questioning on Monday. It is unknown whether he was going to be questioned about the same things as the charges are about.

Apart from the massive police brutality on November 7, 2007, Saakashvili is also charged in connection with the police action to break into TV station Imedi and of taking over the property of Imedi’s owner, businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Monday.

The four others who are also charged are former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili (in detention), former Chief Prosecutor Zurab Adeisvhili (abroad, location unknown), former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili (in France) and former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava (in detention).

Saakashvili was first called in for questioning in March, but refused to come to Georgia, and also refused to answer questions via Skype. Recently, he was asked a second time to come and answer questions on Saturday, but it was known that he was not planning to show up.

The National Movement claims the charges are a political ploy which will have negative repercussion for Georgia’s image. Government officials say everyone is equal before the law.