STATEMENT BY SENATORS MCCAIN, CARDIN, SHAHEEN AND RISCH EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT ABOUT CHARGES FILED AGAINST FORMER GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI

July 28, 2014

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jim Risch (R-ID) today released the following statement expressing disappointment regarding the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia filing criminal charges against former President Mikheil Saakashvili and numerous senior leaders of the previous government:

“We are extremely disappointed and concerned that the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia has filed criminal charges against former President Mikheil Saakashvili and numerous senior leaders of the previous government.

“President Saakasahvili and his government were not faultless, and it is important for any democracy to uphold its laws. But the pursuit of justice should not become a tool of political retribution and a source of national division, especially when Georgia has so many pressing challenges at present. We and other have urged Prime Minister Garibashvili and other Georgian leaders to focus on the future, not the past, and to help move their country forward, not take it backward. It is nearly impossible to see how the decision to put most of the previous government on trial is consistent with this purpose.

“Georgia’s leaders need to think long and hard about the direction they are taking their country. Today’s action, and others like it, imposes unnecessary challenges in moving our relationship forward.”