In the end, the police found him in a small apartment on the outskirts of Tbilisi, the capital, where he was staying alone, according to Shota Utiashvili, senior fellow at the Georgia Foundation for Strategic and International Studies and a former official in Mr. Saakashvili’s government.
“He knew that he would be arrested but decided to come anyway” to support his political party, the United National Movement, before elections, Mr. Utiashvili said.
“The government was saying, ‘How can you have a party whose leader fears justice?’” Mr. Utiashvili said. “It’s an argument that he is a coward. He responded, ‘I am not a coward and if you want to arrest me, here I am.’”
By Friday evening, the police had transferred Mr. Saakashvili to a jail in Rustavi, about 15 miles from the capital. His arrest was confirmed by Georgia’s prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili.
Mr. Saakashvili led the first wave of anti-authoritarian street uprisings in the former Soviet Union, called color revolutions, and he governed Georgia as president from 2004 until 2013, a period that included a brief war with Russia. In the politics of the former Soviet states, he was aligned with movements resisting Russian influence.