U.S. Urges Appropriate Treatment of Saakashvili, Allowing Court Attendance

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price on November 18 urged the Georgian Government to treat jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili “fairly and with dignity, as well as to heed the Public Defender’s recommendations about appropriate treatment.” He also strongly urged for allowing Saakashvili to attend ongoing court hearings, “in line with international law.”

Spokesperson Price commended the oversight work of the Georgian Public Defender in establishing a group of medical experts to monitor hunger-striking Saakashvili’s health and review the medical services provided to him in the prison hospital. The group concluded on November 17 that the ex-President should be urgently transferred to a civilian clinic.

The U.S. Department spokesperson also stressed that Saakashvili “has a right to a fair trial, which includes the opportunity to attend court hearings in person should he request to do so.” The ex-President has been barred three times from attending his three ongoing criminal trials.

“We are closely following the treatment of former President Mikheil Saakashvili since his arrest on October 1,” he said.

The statement comes as Saakashvili temporarily lost consciousness in the Gldani prison clinic on November 18. He has been on a hunger strike since his arrest.

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