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Ukrainian court slaps curfew on Saakashvili

2 min

Kiev (AFP)

A Ukrainian court on Friday slapped a curfew on former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who stands accused of trying to stage a coup sponsored by Russia.

The Kyiv Appeals Court partially upheld an appeal by the prosecutor's office against a lower court decision to free Saakashvili for the duration of the probe.

Judge Oleg Prysyazhnyuk announced that the former Georgian leader would be subject to "a preventive measure in the form of house arrest ... from 22:00 to 7:00 the next day", a decision met with shouts of "shame!" from Saakashvili supporters in the courtroom.

Later Ukrainian media reported that the curfew would be in place until February 5.

The ruling also barred Saakashvili from leaving Kiev without the permission of a court or the prosecutor's office.

Saakashvili said the appeal court decision was designed to restrict his political activity.

"I can not leave Kiev any more, I can not visit regions, meet with people, organise demonstrations," he lamented.

However, he vowed to continue his protest movement "for the ousting from power" of Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, whom he accuses of corruption.

Ukrainian prosecutors allege that Saakashvili cooperated with allies of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, currently in hiding in Russia, and took money from the Russians.

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

A pariah of the Kremlin after Georgia fought a short war with Russia in 2008, Saakashvili was a vocal champion of the three-month uprising in Kiev that toppled the Moscow-backed Yanukovych government in 2014 and turned Ukraine towards a pro-EU course.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko rewarded Saakashvili for his efforts by appointing him governor of the important Black Sea region of Odessa in 2015 before the two men fell out and his Ukrainian passport was annulled.

Saakashvili was arrested in December after an attempt to detain him earlier dramatically failed when supporters swarmed the van where he was being held.

He is also wanted in his native Georgia for alleged abuse of power.

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