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Saakashvili Has “Right to Suicide,” Says PM

“The law says an individual has the right to suicide,” Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili told Imedi TV late on October 28, asked about the possible “finale” of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, on hunger strike since October 1.

Arguing Saakashvili is harming his health, the Prime Minister stressed that “if an individual decides to kill themselves, they can… the state cannot take responsibility for this, of course.”

Prime Minister added the authorities are “doing everything” to ensure Saakashvili is treated and monitored accordingly by doctors in prison.

After Imedi TV anchor pointed out that the state should help out someone harming himself, the PM said “we will help [Saakashvili], we will transfer him, if needed, in due course” to the No. 18 prison hospital in Gldani.

In the late-night interview, PM Garibashvili also ruled out transferring Saakashvili to a private hospital, citing security concerns. He claimed there would be “constant chaos, brawls” between the law enforcement officers and Saakashvili’s supporters at the hospital.

Article 10(1) of Georgia’s Constitution stipulates that “human life shall be protected.” The Criminal Code does not explicitly prohibit or impose a fine on attempted suicide. When suicide takes place, police ordinarily launch an investigation into Article 115, involving incitement to suicide.

The issue of transferring jailed Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili to a medical facility has triggered controversy over the past few days.

Saakashvili’s personal doctor, defense lawyers, and Public Defender strongly oppose the authorities’ decision to transfer Saakashvili to the prison hospital if his health condition worsens.

In separate statements on October 27, the center-right European People’s Party, and European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Parliament have also called for transferring Saakashvili to a civil hospital.

Opposition outraged

“Head of the Georgian Government openly states that it will allow a starving president to die and shifts any responsibility from it to the prisoner himself,” said today Elene Khoshtaria of the Droa party, assessing PM’s remarks as “unbelievable.”

MP Salome Samadashvili of the Lelo – Partnership for Georgia faction said “someone should explain” to the PM that “the right to suicide does not exist, but criminal liability for incitement to suicide does.”

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