EU Envoy Says Airing Saakashvili Prison Videos ‘Questionable, Regrettable’

EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell called today airing two videos of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili by the Special Penitentiary Service “highly questionable and regrettable.” 

Responding to journalists’ queries in Ikalto village in the eastern Kakheti region, the EU Ambassador said he did not see the publication of the footage as “conducive to moving the situation forward.”

“I fail to see that the objective of the airing of these videos would serve the purpose of addressing what should be in the focus, which is the health situation of Mr. Saakashvili, and in parallel to that also upholding his fundamental rights, including those of privacy and dignity,” Ambassador Hartzell noted.

The Georgian Dream authorities came under fire over the release of the videos, with the State Inspector’s Service, civil society leaders, and opposition politicians all strongly condemning the move. Georgian Dream MPs defended the Penitentiary decision, noting it served to inform the public on the state of affairs regarding Saakashvili.

Yesterday, the Penitentiary Service published two videos containing footage of hunger-striking Saakashvili’s transfer from Rustavi N12 jail to Gldani N18 prison clinic. One of the videos shows the desperate ex-President refusing the transfer in an ambulance van in front of the prison hospital and scolding the penitentiary employees. The other shows Saakashvili being dragged by several men and forcefully placed in the clinic ward.

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