Supporters Celebrate as Ukraine Opposition Leader Saakashvili Released By Court

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was brought to a court on Monday in Ukraine's capital Kiev where he is being tried on at least three criminal counts, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Supported by a number of Ukrainian lawmakers in the courtroom and several hundred protesters gathered outside the court, Saakashvili called the trial "a shame" of current authorities that has inspired critical media coverage.

The victorious Saakashvili said after the verdict that he will coordinate with other political forces in Ukraine to push for a peaceful change of government.

Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia turned opposition leader in Ukraine, was arrested Friday on allegations that he colluded with Ukrainian businessmen tied to Russian Federation to topple President Petro Poroshenko.

He also said Saakashvili would refuse food while in detention.

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

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Saakashvili's wife, Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs, said Ukrainian authorities "crossed a red line" by arresting him.

Saakashvili could be extradited to Georgia where he is wanted on corruption charges.

The demonstrators smashed the windows of a candy store belonging to Poroshenko's company, Roshen.

Saakashvili, 49, entered Ukrainian politics after serving as president of Georgia following the Georgian "Rose Revolution" he spearheaded in 2003.

But a year later, Saakashvili accused him of protecting corrupt oligarchs and resigned, moving to the opposition. He acquired Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015 and was appointed governor of Ukraine's southern Odessa region. Saakashvili served two terms as president of Georgia from 2004-2013.

He was later stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, becoming stateless as he had lost his Georgian citizenship to gain the Ukrainian one.


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