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Saakashvili Transferred to Prison Hospital

Jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, on a hunger strike since October 1, has been transferred to the No.18 prison hospital in Gldani, Tbilisi.

The Special Penitentiary Service made the announcement at 18:57, November 8, about an hour after reports emerged that Saakashvili had been helicoptered out of Rustavi prison.

The Service said it would provide additional information to the public gradually.

Earlier today, Saakashvili’s personal doctor Nikoloz Kipshidze said the council of physicians monitoring Saakashvili’s health unanimously recommended immediately transferring Saakashvili to a multi-profile, high-tech hospital.

Saakashvili announced on November 6 that he would no longer receive any kind of supplements, after the Special Penitentiary Service released footage of the ex-President receiving small amounts of juice and mineral purée for medical purposes, claiming he was consuming food.

The issue of transferring Saakashvili to a medical facility triggered controversy over the past weeks as the authorities had insisted to take the ex-President to No.18 prison hospital if his condition worsened.

The decision was strongly opposed by Saakashvili’s personal doctor, defense lawyers, and the Public Defender who, citing various reasons, have recommended the former President’s transfer to a private hospital.

The Public Defender’s Office, upon two separate inspections, found that the No.18 medical facility did not fully comply with the recommendations issued by the council of doctors.

In the latest assessment, on October 24, the Public Defender’s Office noted that Gldani prison clinic did not have a resuscitation specialist, and lacked the capacity to conduct magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, or duplex scanning.

The Public Defender’s Office pointed out that Rustavi prison accommodates former police officers, military servicemen and officials, including Saakashvili, inmates that have conflicts of interest with other prisoners. It argued that transferring Saakashvili to the No.18 prison hospital, located close to the No.8 penitentiary in Gldani, would pose a security risk for Saakashvili and his visitors.

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