ECR Group calls for immediate release of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili

The ECR Group is deeply concerned about the imprisonment of Mikheil Saakashvili, former pro-western President of Georgia and leader of the largest opposition party in the country, after his return from exile.

Mr Saakashvili was fully entitled to return to his homeland. Allegations against him made by the ruling party in Georgia are unfounded. The people of Georgia have the full right to choose their leaders themselves. Politicians should be debating issues freely, not through sending letters from prison.

Mr Saakashvili has an impressive track record as a reformer of Georgia, having put his country on the democratic path. It is obvious that Mr Saakashvili’s clear pro-European and pro-Transatlantic stances have ultimately led to the invasion of Georgia by authoritarian Russia, which tried to destroy the democratic spring in the country.

The ECR Group also recalls that Mr Saakashvili’s actions allowed a peaceful transfer of power for the very first time in post-Soviet Georgia. We strongly believe that political revanchism is not a path that should be pursued by the authorities, especially after the rulings of the European Court on Human Rights in cases of other former officials serving under Saakashvili, which were clearly defined as politically motivated.

The ECR Group calls upon the Georgian authorities to drop charges against Mikheil Saakashvili and release him from custody immediately.

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