Jailed ex-President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili today announced a “complete, permanent hunger strike,” during a court hearing on the case of exceeding authority during the November 7, 2007 crackdown on anti-government protests.
The ex-President argued his decision is a response to the Georgian Dream government’s treatment of him and the “people.”
He cited the evaluations of the group of physicians assembled by the Public Defender and of the Empathy, a rehabilitation center for victims of torture, to argue that the Georgian penitentiary system cannot provide adequate medical treatment for diseases he developed during his initial 50-day-long hunger strike.
Besides, the ex-President accused the Rustavi prison administration of mistreatment, claiming that the authorities have decided to bar doctors and nurses from visiting Saakashvili in his cell and no longer maintain a physician on duty.
Against this backdrop, Saakashvili said he has fainted twice following his transfer from the Gori military clinic back to the penitentiary.
Saakashvili also claimed that “the kleptocratic regime in place and the mafia clan” intend to kill him as per Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order.
He demanded the authorities to allow his American and Dutch doctors, as well as personal physician Nikoloz Kipshidze and a medical group set up by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to visit him in prison.
The development comes after Saakashvili previously in November stopped a 50-day-long hunger strike after the Georgian Government agreed to transfer him to the Gori military clinic following a lengthy standoff. The ex-President was discharged from the hospital on December 30, 2021.
Saakashvili had kicked off the hunger strike immediately after his arrest on October 1, 2021, on the eve of local elections, following an unexpected return to Georgia from self-imposed exile in Ukraine.
The former President is serving a six-year prison term after he was sentenced in absentia in 2018 on two separate abuse of power charges – three years for pardoning the former Interior Ministry officials, convicted in the high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani, and six years for organizing an attack on opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili.
The former President denies all the charges as politically motivated.