Former president Mikheil Saakashvili held over coup claim

REUTERS

REUTERS

Supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili, ex-Georgian leader-turned Ukrainian opposition politician, plan to hold another mass rally on Sunday, MP of the Self-Help party Semen Semenchenko told NewsOne TV channel.

The prosecutor general said last week that Mr Saakashvili had accepted $500,000 from a Ukrainian businessman hiding in Russian Federation who was connected to the Kremlin-leaning former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

Judge Larysa Tsokol made a decision to set Saakashvili free. "Mikheil is already in court", she said. The case against him is still open, however.

He also said Saakashvili would refuse food while in detention. He denounced his prosecution as a political attempt to remove him from public life.

His lawyer, Ruslan Chernolutsky, said Saturday that Saakashvili had written a statement in jail saying "don't be afraid of anything and boldly go to Sunday's peaceful demonstration" for Petroshenko's impeachment. Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and an ex-governor of Odessa, was detained on allegations that he assisted a criminal organization.

REUTERS
REUTERS

Saakashvili's supporters marched across downtown Kiev, chanting "Down with the Gang!" and "Impeachment!"

Saakashvili, 49, entered Ukrainian politics after serving as president of Georgia following the Georgian "Rose Revolution" he spearheaded in 2003. Poroshenko this summer rescinded his Ukrainian citizenship while Saakashvili was out of the country, leaving Saakashvili stateless.

Saakashvili's Georgian citizenship was revoked in 2015 when he obtained a Ukrainian passport.

Inside the courtroom Saakashvili called the trial "a shame" of current authorities that has inspired critical media coverage.

"Look at the Western press, they've gone insane!", he said emotionally."One bad article after another is the shame of Ukraine". "One bad article after another is the shame of Ukraine".

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