The Tbilisi municipal tribunal has found former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili guilty of abuse of power in connection with a 2006 murder case and has sentenced him in absentia to three years in prison.
The court found Saakashvili guilty of abusing his presidential powers by trying to cover up evidence about the 2006 murder of Georgian banker Sandro Girgvliani, and issuing pardons for four men who were convicted of the murder.
Girgvliani, who headed one of the foreign departments of United Georgian Bank, was found dead in January 2006 outside of Tbilisi with multiple injuries after he was seen arguing in a bar with high-ranking Interior Ministry officials.
Girgvliani’s murder, and the unwillingness of the authorities to investigate his death, resulted in harsh criticism of Saakashvili’s government.
Saakashvili, who now resides in Ukraine where he is an opposition figure, rejects the charges as politically motivated.
Ukraine has previously rejected requests from the authorities in Tbilisi to extradite Saakashvili to Georgia.