A Georgia court has issued an arrest warrant for Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president who won a seat in the country’s parliament as an independent candidate in a 2015 election that became known as the “Orange Revolution.”
Mr. Saakashvili, a charismatic figure who rose to power after the collapse of the Soviet Union, once ignited civil war in the former Soviet republic of Georgia when he tried to crack down on corruption during his presidency from 2003 to 2009.
Under Mr. Saakashvili, Georgia became one of the United States’ closest partners in the region, but his tactics came back to haunt him when he sought to set up an autocratic government to last indefinitely, according to some observers.
For a time, the United States worked with him as he sought to rebuild Georgia, an army that Russian-backed separatist leaders set up in the breakaway region of Abkhazia during the war of 2008.
After his presidency ended, he fled to the United States, but has since regained the spirit of resistance. As a politician, he has urged the opposition in Georgia to oppose the current president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, whose term expires in 2025, because he hopes that he will stay in power until 2024.
Mr. Saakashvili is not accused of any wrongdoing. On Friday, Georgia’s central prosecutor issued an arrest warrant on charges of abuse of power. A European diplomat familiar with the matter said that Mr. Saakashvili’s arrest was “very serious,” while the American citizen whom the opposition says he prosecuted in the past denied that he had abused power.
The European diplomat familiar with the matter said the charges were linked to allegations against Misha Japaridze, an opposition politician, which led to the police arresting him. Mr. Japaridze, who had been the chairman of the parliamentary commission on security, was detained after leaving a restaurant in the town of Gori in the country’s north, the diplomat said.