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Mikheil Saakashvili, Ex-President of Georgia, Arrested in Ukraine, Again

December 8, 2017
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Supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili gathered outside the detention center where he was being held in Kiev.Credit Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

MOSCOW — Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, was arrested on Friday in Ukraine during a late-night police raid on an apartment where he had been hiding after his escape from custody following a rooftop struggle with security agents this week.

Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said in a Facebook post that Mr. Saakashvili, the standard-bearer of a vociferous campaign to remove the president of Ukraine, Petro O. Poroshenko, had been seized late Friday by police officers in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and placed in a pretrial detention center.

Scores of Mr. Saakashvili’s supporters gathered overnight outside the detention center, which is operated by the domestic security agency, and chanted “glory to Ukraine” and other slogans. Vowing to stay until Mr. Saakashvili was released, they lit fires in the street to keep warm, just as protesters did in the winter of 2013-14 during an ultimately successful campaign to oust Ukraine’s previous president, Viktor F. Yanukovych.

A few hours before he was detained, Mr. Saakashvili had called for weekend protests against Mr. Poroshenko in Independence Square, an area in Kiev known as Maidan that was the center of the earlier demonstrations against Mr. Yanukovych.

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But few analysts expect Mr. Saakashvili’s supporters, who see the former Georgian leader as a hero in the battle against corruption, to generate anything like the wave of discontent that toppled Mr. Yanukovych in February 2014.

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Mr. Saakashvili being detained on Tuesday. He escaped after his supporters blocked a security service van.Credit Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Mr. Saakashvili has not yet been formally charged. Mr. Lutsenko, the prosecutor general, this week accused him of receiving $500,000 for his political activities from a fugitive Ukrainian businessman close to Mr. Yanukovych, who has lived in exile in Russia since his ouster.

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