Court orders arrest of former Georgian president The arrest order comes after Georgia's former president Mikheil Saakashvili failed to appear in court for questioning as a witness on Monday

TBILISI, Georgia (AA) – The Tbilisi City Court has issued an arrest order in absentia for Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, according to local media reports Saturday.

The pre-trial detention order came after a claim filed by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia after Saakashvili failed to appear in court for questioning on Monday as a witness in several ongoing investigations.

The Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday that criminal charges were filed against Saakashvili, accusing him of abusing his authority to forcefully break up the anti-government demonstrations in Tbilisi in November 2007 and of raiding and illegally seizing the premises of Imedi TV following the broadcast of statements by opposition leaders as well as video footage of the crackdown on protesters by the riot police.

Four other former senior officials are also indicted in the case including former interior minister Vano Merabishvili, former prosecutor general Zurab Adeishvili, former defense minister David Kezerashvili and former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava.

Saakashvili left Georgia soon after Margvelashvili was inaugurated as the country’s new president in November 2013.

Lawyers representing Saakashvili, Adeishvili and Kezerashvili said the charges were politically motivated, and they would appeal the court’s decision to arrest the former politicians in absentia.

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