MOSCOW — Mikheil Saakashvili, a former president of Georgia and as soon as a distinguished determine within the politics of post-Soviet international locations, was arrested on Friday on expenses he known as politically motivated after returning secretly to Georgia following eight years in exile.
Mr. Saakashvili’s return, like a lot of his tenure in energy, had the trimmings of high-stakes political theater. The previous president, who had been residing in Ukraine, had been taunting the Georgian authorities, which is managed by his political enemies, for days with hints of a return, together with posting photos of an airplane ticket on social media.
It was unclear how or when Mr. Saakashvili entered the nation regardless of a warrant for his arrest that has been excellent for years. However he apparently didn’t arrive at an airport, the place he confronted sure arrest.
Earlier than his detention on Friday, a cheerful-looking Mr. Saakashvili had posted movies of himself strolling in Batumi, a Georgian seaside city on the Black Sea. He stated he wished to encourage voting in native elections on Saturday.
Ultimately, the police discovered him in a small condominium on the outskirts of Tbilisi, the capital, the place he was staying alone, in response to Shota Utiashvili, senior fellow on the Georgia Basis for Strategic and Worldwide Research and a former official in Mr. Saakashvili’s authorities.
“He knew that he could be arrested however determined to come back anyway” to help his political celebration, the United Nationwide Motion, earlier than elections, Mr. Utiashvili stated.
“The federal government was saying, ‘How will you have a celebration whose chief fears justice?’” Mr. Utiashvili stated. “It’s an argument that he’s a coward. He responded, ‘I’m not a coward and if you wish to arrest me, right here I’m.’”
By Friday night, the police had transferred Mr. Saakashvili to a jail in Rustavi, about 15 miles from the capital. His arrest was confirmed by Georgia’s prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili.
Mr. Saakashvili led the primary wave of anti-authoritarian road uprisings within the former Soviet Union, known as shade revolutions, and he ruled Georgia as president from 2004 till 2013, a interval that included a short struggle with Russia. Within the politics of the previous Soviet states, he was aligned with actions resisting Russian affect.
After stepping down, Mr. Saakashvili lived for a time in Brooklyn. He later entered politics in Ukraine, after that nation’s 2014 revolution deposed a pro-Russian president. He was amongst a dozen or so former Georgian politicians who got senior roles within the Ukrainian authorities to assist overhaul the nation’s forms.
For a time, he fell out with the Ukrainian management and in 2018 he was arrested on the roof of a constructing in Kyiv, the place he had climbed to handle supporters and escape the police. The dispute was resolved after a change in Ukraine’s authorities.
He served as governor of the town of Odessa, within the south of Ukraine, and holds an official place within the Ukrainian authorities as we speak as head of the Workplace of Easy Options and Outcomes, an company he created.
Again in Georgia, the brand new authorities accused him of abuse of workplace as president and a courtroom in 2018 convicted Mr. Saakashvili in absentia and sentenced him to 3 years in jail.