Irakli Kobakhidze, Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, has slammed MEP Anna Fotyga (ECR, Poland) after she held the Georgian Government responsible for the treatment of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, currently hospitalized in Gldani #18 penitentiary clinic.
MEP Fotyga on November 12-13 tried to visit Saakashvili in the prison clinic in Tbilisi, but the Justice Ministry turned down the request. The Ministry later published the MEP’s letter, where she noted that Georgian authorities had in the past allowed her to “visit former political prisoners.”
“When one specific MEP writes a letter to the Justice Minister, saying that Saakashvili is a political prisoner, [it means] the person does not respect the state, [and] naturally the state will have an appropriate response,” the Georgian Dream chair remarked.
Doubling down on his earlier statement that the Georgian state would not cooperate with people “biased towards criminals,” MP Kobakhidze claimed Fotyga is part of a group of “longtime lobbyists of the criminal political force [United National Movement].”
The Georgian Dream chair argued these persons share the responsibility for “crimes committed before 2012” under UNM administration, going on to accuse the UNM of torture and inhuman treatment of its citizens, as well as “handing territories” to Russia in the 2008 August War. “They were lobbyists back then too.”
“If they continue such activities, lobbyism, we will have to resort to calling them patrons of criminals,” said MP Kobakhidze, adding “we must differentiate friends of Saakashvili and friends of the country.”
Georgian Dream officials have intensified scathing criticism against certain MEPs and other western officials on the course of 2021. On October 20, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said “neither [MEP Anna] Fotyga nor [MEP Andrius] Kubilius, nor anyone else, represent anything for myself or our country,” commenting on multiple MEPs calls for the release of Saakashvili.
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested on October 1, on the eve of local elections. He has since been on a hunger strike. On November 8, he was forcibly transferred to Gldani prison hospital against his will. Saakashvili, his doctor, family, and the opposition demand his treatment in a civilian clinic.
- Saakashvili to End Hunger Strike if Treated in Civilian Clinic
- GD MPs Hit out at Ukrainian Public Defender
- Garibashvili Lashes Out at MEPs over Saakashvili