TBILISI, DFWatch–Former President Mikheil Saakashvili has refused an offer from the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office to give witness testimony via Skype.
Saakashvili was called to come and answer questions about ten criminal cases, with status as witness, but the appointed time – yesterday at 13:00 – came and went without any sign of the ex-president.
Members of parliament Giorgi Baramidze and Davit Darchiashvili from Saakashvili’s party, the National Movement, told DF Watch that their leader said everything he wished to say in a TV interview with Rustavi 2 a few days ago.
Baramidze says he assumes that if the ex-president has any more to say, he will find a way to say it.
The ex-president said from the start that he didn’t plan to come to Georgia for questioning. He thinks the idea to question him is a plan concocted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and carried out by Putin’s agents in Georgia – the current government.
He further claims that Putin’s motive for doing this is to remove him from the international political stage. Saakashvili has said for years that Putin considers him a personal enemy.
It was on Saturday the Prosecutor’s Office released a statement saying it was summoning Saakashvili for questioning. Many people were sure that he wouldn’t come to Georgia and let himself be questioned. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said that if Saakashvili did not show up, Georgia would declare him a wanted person, but under Georgian legislation it is only possible to declare someone wanted if he is a suspect, and Saakashvili was summoned to be questioned as a witness, not a suspect.
The PM admitted to journalists that it was rash of him to say Saakashvili would be declared wanted.
After Saakashvili didn’t show up for questioning, the Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement saying they offer him to be questioned using modern technology. The office gave him one week to consider this possibility.
“The former President of Georgia in his public speech spoke of the threat of his possible detention, which is the reason why he refrains from coming to Georgia. The office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia emphasizes that the summoning of Mikheil Saakashvili as a witness at this stage of the investigation aims at recording his explanations, which will further ensure a comprehensive investigation,” the statement reads.
Saakashvili responded from Kiev that he also refuses to be questioned via Skype.
“It seems they got afraid because of international pressure and changed form,” he said, adding that Americans and Europeans explained them the situation well.
“This process doesn’t have any legitimacy and I am too busy to have spare time for nonsense,” he added.