Penitentiary Footage Shows Saakashvili Dragged into Prison Hospital
The State Penitentiary Service of Georgia has aired explicit footage showing Mikheil Saakashvili being dragged into the Gldani #18 prison hospital by several men, against his will.
The video blurs out the faces of penitentiary employees and hospital doctors, with only Saakashvili being identifiable in the footage. The video has no sound, and is a collage of several different security camera footages. The assembled footage shows the date and time of the recordings, and there are some time skips between the videos, including 10, 16 and 21-second gaps.
The video, aired three days after the controversial November 8 transfer, shows five workers grabbing the ex-President by his hands and feet outside from the ambulance car and taking him inside the facility. During the moment, the footage shows Saakashvili’s t-shirt and jacket partially come off, revealing the ex-President’s naked upper body.
After visibly dragging the former President through the establishment’s entrance and corridor, the men can be seen attempting to put Saakashvili in a wheelchair, which the ex-President apparently resisted. Saakashvili can be seen kicking one of the men during the moment.
Subsequent footage shows Saakashvili again grabbed by his hands and feet, being dragged into an elevator, and through a corridor into the prison hospital ward, where his top clothing fully comes off.
The video then shows Saakashvili pushing a man wearing a white lab coat, presumably a doctor, pacing around the ward and visibly arguing with penitentiary employees. At the moment, the ex-President strikes a piece of medical equipment, making it fall off the bedside nightstand.
After Saakashvili closely approaches a man with a raised hand, the person can be seen hitting the ex-President on the hand while another worker intervenes and leads slightly away.
The Special Penitentiary Service claimed the footage shows Saakashvili insulting and attacking Gldani prison hospital personnel, and damaging equipment, adding that the General Inspection of the Justice Ministry has already launched a probe into the events.
Saakashvili’s lawyer Dimitri Sadzaglishvili argued the contrary, saying the footage shows inhuman treatment of Saakashvili, with the Penitentiary Service trying to “trying to deny the dignity of Georgia’s third President and place him forcibly in the #18 facility.
Saakashvili, on his part, argued in his first letter from Gldani penitentiary clinic that he had been deceitfully taken to the prison hospital instead of a civilian one and was abused during the process. Ex-President said in the Gldani penitentiary facility he was dragged out of the ambulance car on the ground and hit several times in the neck. He said he pushed the medical equipment in the ward because medical staff had started injecting something into him without permission.
The video does not include footage of the ambulance car arriving at the entrance of the facility. The earliest footage shows men dragging Saakashvili out of the car, already on site. With several men holding, and others gathered around Saakashvili outside the ambulance car, it would be hard to see if he was hit in the neck or if his hair was pulled. As for the episode concerning the medical equipment, footage showing him pushing the piece aside comes after a ten-second time skip from the earlier video.
The videos are piece together mostly in chronological order, with the sequence showing Saakashvili dragged into the elevator being the only video out of order.
The Penitentiary Service transferred Saakashvili to the No.18 prison hospital in Gldani, Tbilisi, without his consent, on the evening of November 8. His whereabouts were unknown to the ex-Presidents’ lawyers and family for at least an hour. Reports about his transfer came around 18:00, while the Penitentiary Service made an official announcement at 18:57 on Facebook. Saakashvili, his doctor and lawyers, and the Ombudsperson have all opposed his transfer to the prison hospital, citing security risks and inadequate medical equipment, advocating instead for his placement at a civilian clinic.
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