Public Defender Assembles Medical Expert Team to Report on Saakashvili Case

Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria set up today a group of nine experts to monitor the medical services provided by the state to jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, currently in the Gldani #18 prison hospital.

The group of experts will also assess if the penitentiary clinic is adequate for protecting Saakashvili’s health and if appropriate medical services will be available at the facility if the ex-President calls off his hunger strike.

The group includes eight invited physicians, as well as a Doctor of Medicine employed by the Public Defender’s Office. The list of invited specialists includes an anesthesiologist-resuscitator, an expert on internal diseases, a cardiologist, a hematologist, a specialist of infectious diseases, a neurologist as well as an endocrinologist.

The Public Defender expressed regrets that since Saakashvili’s transfer to the penitentiary clinic, the council of doctors that monitored his health in the Rustavi #12 penitentiary has not been allowed to visit the hospitalized inmate.

Lomjaria also stated she would issue special access credentials to the freshly-established team of experts to visit Saakashvili and inspect the prison clinic as well.

The statement highlighted however that the “Public Defender cannot and will not replace the responsibility of the State for the care of the prisoner and his health.”

The development comes as Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia said that because Saakashvili was hospitalized, there was no longer a need for the work of the council of doctors, initially set up by the Ministries of Justice and of Healthcare to continue its work. She added that if necessary, the penitentiary clinic could also invite experts from private hospitals.

The ex-President’s personal doctor, Nikoloz Kipshidze said on the night of November 15-16 that he waited for some five hours to be allowed to visit Saakashvili at the prison clinic, only to be refused due to it being past the visiting hours. Meanwhile, United National Movement MP Tina Bokuchava, who was visiting Saakashvili, said penitentiary employees prevented her from leaving the premises, supposedly to use this as a reason for refusing Kipshidze’s visit.

Saakashvili has been on hunger strike since his arrest on October 1. Authorities transferred him to the prison hospital on November 8, against his will. Saakashvili, his family, doctor, and lawyers had repeatedly rejected the option, and the council of doctors monitoring the inmate’s health had also recommended transferring the ex-President to a multi-profile civilian hospital.

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


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