Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested by authorities after returning from exile on corruption charges that alleged his misconduct during his presidency, accusations that he has continued to deny.

From 2004 to 2013, Saakashvili, who has been an open supporter of Western nations, led Georgia but was later convicted in absentia on corruption charges. The official posted a video on Facebook on Friday where he announced his return to the country ahead of local elections scheduled on Saturday.

The Arrest of Former Georgian President

Hours after Saakashvili's post, Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced that the former president was in police custody. The federal government initially denied that the 53-year-old former leader arrived in the country. But later, the prime minister said that "the third president of Georgia, the wanted Mikheil Saakashvili, has been arrested and sent to jail."

It was revealed that Saakashvili had gone on a hunger strike and that he himself was a political prisoner, a Georgian rights ombudsman said after visiting the former leader in jail. The current president of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, said he did not plan to give his predecessor a pardon, BBC reported.

Read Also: Joe Biden Tries To Break Deadlock Over Multi-Trillion Economic Agenda; Psaki Admits President Will Not Get Full Spending Proposal

Details of the former president's arrest were not made public but Georgian TV broadcasted on Friday evening a video of Saakashvili in handcuffs being escorted by police with a smile on his face. He lived in Ukraine for the past few years after he allegedly abused his power as the president of the country.

Previously, Saakashvili posted on Facebook where he revealed in a video that he was in Batumi, the Black seaport and resort that is also Georgia's second largest city. The former president said on his social media account that Saturday's elections were "crucial" for the country,and called on residents to rally in Tbilisi on Sunday, committing to appear at the demonstration, ABC News reported.

Getting Into The Country

Authorities did not have information on how Saakashvili was able to enter the country despite a warrant for his arrest that has been in place for several years. But they noted that he did not travel into the country by plane because he would have been arrested immediately.

Police discovered the official inside a small apartment on the outskirts of Tbilisi, the country's capital, where he was alone, said senior fellow at the Georgia Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Shota Utiashvili, who was also a former official during Saakashvili's administration.

He said that the former president knew he would be arrested if he came to Georgia but did so anyway to support his political party. Utiashvili said that the former leader wanted to help the United National Movement during the Saturday elections.

Saakashvili was transferred to a jail in Rustavi, which is roughly 15 miles from the capital by Friday evening. The former president was known to have led the first wave of anti-authoritarian street uprisings in the former Soviet Union, which were called colo revolutions. During Saakashvili's presidency, the country was in a brief war with Russia. He has also continued to align himself with movements that resisted Russian influence, the New York Times reported.


Related Article: Republicans End Relationship With Former Donald Trump Adviser Cory Lewandowski But Won't Cut Ties With Ex-POTUS