Zurabishvili Says Saakashvili’s Dignity Must Be Respected

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili has said the dignity of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who keeps his weeks-long hunger strike in prison hospital, must be respected. In this context, the President lambasted the Penitentiary Service over publishing videos depicting forced transfer of Saakashvili into prison hospital.

“The release of those video footages, that insult his dignity and honor are categorically unacceptable for me as the President,” noted Zurabishvili in press briefing on November 17, adding that “Incumbent authorities should in no way resemble their predecessors.”

Noting that all people are equal before the law, Persident Zurabishvili said while serving his sentence inmate Saakashvili could not be regarded as an ordinary prisoner.

“He is a special prisoner, because everyone, both our society and international community demand following highest standards [in this regard]. How we treat him, and how his dignity, health and safety is protected reflects on the image of our country,” she said.

But, the President argued that because Saakashvili is a special prisoner, transferring him to a multi-profile clinic, as demanded by the ex-President, his family, doctor and the opposition, would be associated with risks.

President Zurabishvili highlighted that Saakashvili should all the same enjoy the highest international standards at the prison clinic, “so that there is no question or suspicion that something is missing in his treatment – during the hunger strike, if not after, no less a dangerous stage.”

She said the Georgian Government also has a duty to inform the public whether the Gldani penitentiary hospital meets the standards of those prison clinics abroad, where hunger-striking prisoners are treated.

“The government is obliged to take all the measures, to provide all the information, to take into account all the threats that may affect the stability of society or country,” President Zurabishvili added.

Stressing it is unfortunate that the council of doctors monitoring Saakashvili’s health in Rustavi #12 prison was not allowed to continue its work, the Georgian President highlighted the importance of the team of experts assembled by the Public Defender to provide additional information to the public.

She also highlighted that “in all civilized countries, information about the health of a president, former or current, falls into a different category, public information rather than personal data.” President Zurabishvili asserted that the public has the right to receive “complete, unbiased, credible information” daily about Saakashvili’s condition.

“Although he himself has made the decision to go on a hunger strike and is trying to lead the process himself, this does not explain or diminish the responsibility of the government,” she stated.

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


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