U.S. Senators Concerned Saakashvili not Treated Fairly

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) voiced concern on November 19 that jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, is not being treated fairly and with dignity, in accordance with Georgian legislation and international standards.

The four Senators noted they are watching the ongoing court hearings of Saakashvili, and stressed the importance of ensuring the process is fair, transparent, and in-person. “The right to a fair and speedy trial is a hallmark for any democracy, and this case is no exception,” the lawmakers highlighted.

The U.S. legislators urged the Georgian Government to take up the advice of medical experts assembled by the Public Defender, as well as to “prioritize the seriousness of Mr. Saakashvili’s situation, and take heed of the implications for the political stability of Georgia.”

“Now is the time to put aside political differences for the benefit of the Georgian people,” the Senators asserted, going on to highlight the growing risk of a miscalculation that could result in serious harm to Saakashvili’s health. “Such a tragedy would have a lasting negative impact on Georgia’s democratic aspirations.”

Sharing the joint statement on Twitter on November 20, Senator Shaheen welcomed Saakashvili’s transfer to the Gori military hospital, and the ex-President’s decision to call of the hunger strike he launched on October 1, after his arrest.

Senators Shaheen and Johnson, are chair and co-chair, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation. Senator Risch is a ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Cardin is the chair of the Helsinki Commission.

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