Ukrainian MFA Tells Georgia Not to Endanger Saakashvili’s Life

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the Georgian government to treat jailed Mikheil Saakashvili “with respect and not to allow actions that endanger his life and health,” following a recent attempt by the Special Penitentiary Service to transfer the ex-President back to Rustavi prison from the Gori military hospital.

The Foreign Ministry stressed on December 28 that the authorities’ attempt to transfer Saakashvili, currently a Ukrainian citizen, was “improper.” The inmate’s health does not allow him to go back to prison as he needs further rehabilitation, it highlighted, adding that the Penitentiary service had not informed Saakashvili’s lawyers to discharge the patient in advance either.

According to the statement, in the meantime, Kyiv continues to work on Saakashvili’s return to Ukraine for humanitarian reasons, for treatment and rehabilitation. “The need for such a step is obvious,” the Foreign Ministry asserted.

Kyiv reiterated its stance that the Georgian side should allow Ukrainian doctors to visit ex-President Saakashvili for an examination. 

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also noted that Ukrainian diplomats in Georgia continue to monitor the situation regarding the former Georgian President and maintain a constant dialogue with Georgian authorities and Saakashvili’s defense lawyers.

The ex-President has undergone treatment at the Gori military hospital since November 19, following some 50-day-long hunger strike. Saakashvili said on December 27 resisted his allegedly forced transfer from Gori military hospital to Rustavi prison. 

The ex-President’s defense lawyers claimed the decision to discharge Saakashvili from the hospital was based on the recommendation of a military hospital doctor, and neither the state council of doctors or the Public Defender’s group of experts found the ex-President’s treatment had concluded.

A statement delivered by the Special Penitentiary Service on December 28 maintained that attempted transfer of Saakashvili was lawful and came after the personnel of the military hospital decided to discharge the ex-President. It stressed that the transfer was postponed after Saakashvili suffered from fluctuations in blood pressure caused by agitation as he resisted the “lawful demand” to be moved to the Rustavi prison.

Saakashvili, who arrived secretly in Georgia in late September after eight years in exile, was arrested on October 1, on the eve of local elections. He is convicted in two cases in absentia and faces charges in three more. He denies all charges as politically motivated. 

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