The parliamentary faction Lelo-Partnership for Georgia announced today boycott of the plenary sessions until the Georgian Dream government ensures an “adequate protection” of hunger-striking Mikheil Saakashvili’s health and “neutralizes all threats” that might endanger his life.
Jailed ex-President Saakashvili has been on hunger strike since his detention on October 1. His doctors, lawyers, and Public Defender have all raised concerns over his deteriorating health and demanded his transfer to a civilian hospital. But the authorities insist Saakashvili will be transferred to a prison clinic if necessary.
“We believe that ensuring Mikheil Saakashvili’s health and his right to life is today the main responsibility of the current Georgian government,” MP Salome Samadashvili, deputy chair of the Faction, said in a press briefing.
Samadashvili, who broke from UNM ranks after signing EU-brokered April 19 deal, stressed both the government and Georgia’s international partners should regard the decision as a “serious warning about the acute crisis the country is about to enter.”
Alluding to first President Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s death in mysterious circumstances in 1993 in western Georgia, she said “our country simply does not have the resources to overcome another tragic case involving a former head of state.”
Ana Natsvlishvili, another member of the faction, concurred and stressed that the process revolving around Saakashvili’s health has “nothing to do with the administration of justice or with the idea of justice itself.”
“This is revenge against a political opponent,” MP Natsvlishvili said, going on to argue that this is confirmed by not only the details of the cases against Saakashvili but also by “numerous’s shameful, inhumane political statements” of the Georgian Dream members.
She underscored the urgency of transferring Saakashvili to a civilian, multi-profile clinic and laid responsibility for “worst possible consequences not only on the relevant officials but also on [GD-founder, billionare] Bidzina Ivanishvili personally.”
While refusing to attend the plenary sessions, the faction members said they will be voting on constitutional amendments.
The faction includes Lelo MPs Badri Japaridze, the chair, Ana Natsvlishvili, Mamuka Khazaradze, David Usupashvili, and independent lawmakers Salome Samadashvili, Armaz Akhvlediani and Shalva Shavgulidze.
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