Police officers block supporters of Georgian former President Mikheil Saakashvili near a temporary detention facility where Saakashvili was escorted after being detained in Kiev, Ukraine December 9, 2017. (REUTERS PHOTO)
KIEV, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was taken into custody here late Friday, has gone on hunger strike, calling his arrest politically motivated, an allegation denied by the government.
"If the court decides to keep him under arrest for 60 days, he will continue the hunger strike," Saakashvili's lawyer Ruslan Chornolutsk told reporters.
Saakashvili is being held at a detention facility of the Security Service of Ukraine in Kiev. A court hearing will be held on Dec. 11 to decide his fate.
The National Police of Ukraine said it arrested Saakashvili on charges of "aiding members of criminal groups and covering up their criminal activity."
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the charges against were not related to Saakashvili's political activities.
Saakashvili was first detained Tuesday but hundreds of supporters stopped the police van carrying him during a protracted standoff with the authorities, and freed him forcefully.
Saakashvili then led the crowd on a march toward the parliament, shouting slogans demanding the resignation of Poroshenko.
The 49-year-old served two terms as Georgia's president from 2004 to 2013. He acquired Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015 and was appointed governor of Odessa, the third most populous city in Ukraine.
But in July this year, Poroshenko revoked Saakashvili's citizenship, following allegations that he had submitted false information while applying for his Ukrainian passport.
On Sept. 10, Saakashvili defiantly crossed into Ukraine from Poland without showing the necessary documents to the border guards. His supporters broke through the cordon of security forces and escorted him into Ukraine.