Saakashvili sentenced in absentia to three years in prison in Georgia
Tbilisi City Court on Friday found Mikheil Saakashvili guilty in the case on "malicious abuse of power" as Georgian president and sentenced him to three years in prison.
The court fully agreed with accusations from the prosecutor's office that Saakashvili pardoned four police officers in 2009 who served a prison term for the murder of bank employee Sandro Girgvliani in 2006. This murder case had caused public outcry in Georgia, because former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, Head of the Department for Constitutional Security Data Akhalaia and other high-ranking law enforcement officials were involved in the killing.
Saakashvili's lawyer, Sofia Goglichidze, told reporters after the announcement of the verdict on Friday that "in the case there is not a single testimony confirming Saakashvili's guilt."
"As president, Mikheil Saakashvili had the right to pardon police officers," the lawyer said.
Supporters of Saakashvili, who gathered outside the court building, told journalists that the court decision was unconstitutional and that it would be appealed, including at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.