Saakashvili Says Deceived, Abused when Taken to Prison Hospital

Former President Says He Fell Victim to Verbal and Physical Abuse

In his first missive from the Gldani #18 prison hospital, hunger striking former President Mikheil Saakashvili said the prison administration had lied to him that he was being transferred to a civilian clinic. He also said he was physically abused after having refused to leave the ambulance and enter the prison hospital.

Saakashvili said that upon entering the Gldani penitentiary facility — “a section of criminals”, as he put it — he became victim of physical and verbal abuse.

In the letter, the former President complained that the staff dragged him out of the ambulance while being insulted by the inmates from the nearby prison wards. Saakashvili said he “was dragged on the ground and hit several times in the neck” by the penitentiary officials.

“I was dragged by my hair and of course I resisted, just like in the [hospital] ward, where some vaguely criminal-looking medical staff approached me” with syringes Saakashvili went on: “This time I really bumped the analyzer because they started injecting something into me without my permission.” He explained “my reaction was caused by the stress after all this violence and abuse.”

The former President said upon the forced arrival to the penitentiary facility premises, one of the prison workers addressed him: “Look, birdie, now you are in our hands,” and started insulting him.

The former President also expressed support to the United National Movement chair, Nika Melia, who called against protesting outside Gldani Prison yesterday night amid the opposition rallies in Tbilisi. “A provocation was and is being prepared here, aimed at disrupting our peaceful protest,” wrote the ex-President. 

Saakashvili also said that in Rustavi #12 prison, where he was held for some 39 days, authorities cancelled his meeting with the doctors and an appointment with his mother and sons. At least for an hour yesterday, Saakashvili’s family and lawyers were not aware where exactly the former President was being transferred from Rustavi. 

The former Georgian President, who is now a Ukrainian citizen, arrived in his native country covertly after eight years of exile on the night of September 28-29. He was arrested on October 1, on the eve of elections, a few hours after he announced in Facebook videos he had returned to the country. Saakashvili has been hunger striking since the arrest.

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 the 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 also warned against his to the prison hospital. The Ombudsperson noted that despite the prison administration’s readiness to “ensure the safety of any prisoner,” the establishment’s “infrastructure and environment fail to exclude the risk of verbal aggression and noise, verbal abuse, and psychological pressure by certain groups of prisoners” against the ex-President.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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