Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said today the Government will offer jailed former President Mikheil Saakashvili a transfer to the private clinic Vivamedi for examination to prevent any “possible complications” to his health.
The development comes amid concerns about the worsening condition of the ex-President’s health, with calls mounting on the Georgian Dream Government to transfer Saakashvili for treatment abroad. MORE
In a press briefing today, Minister Bregadze said that Saakashvili has “certain medical problems,” without providing more specifics.
If transferred to the private clinic, doctors would examine the former President and treat him accordingly if needed, the Justice Minister noted.
Besides, the Minister reiterated that Saakashvili, currently in Rustavi Prison, refuses to take some of his prescribed medicine, “essentially refusing the complete treatment with his own decision.”
He also claimed that the former President only selectively consumes food, “endangering his own health.”
“As a responsible state, we always act in the best interests of the health and life of any human being,” the Minister added, continuing on the Government’s decision to offer the transfer.
Brushing aside the opposition United National Movement party’s demand to transfer the ex-President for treatment abroad, Minister Bregadze asserted “Georgia has many professional and highly qualified doctors.”
Saakashvili Accepts Transfer for Check-Up
Chair of the United National Movement party’s political council, MP Koba Nakopia told reporters after meeting the former President that Saakashvili has accepted the transfer to the Vivamedi clinic for examinations.
At this stage, the authorities have offered Saakashvili to be taken for a check-up and then return him back to the Rustavi Prison, according to Nakopia’s account.
The UNM leader said the authorities had intended to transfer the ex-President immediately, but Saakashvili, having slated meeting with family members for today, refused and opted to undergo the check-up in the coming days.
MP Nakopia further refuted the Justice Minister’s claim that Saakashvili rejects certain medicines and food, arguing that the former President is instead unable to consume them due to “severe health problems.”
He also pressed on with the demand of the UNM and Saakashvili’s family that the ex-President must be transferred abroad to a clinic experienced in “treating such diseases.”
Later in the day, Mikheil Saakashvili laid out his conditions for the transfer to Vivamedi. He demanded that the authorities allow his family members, personal physician Nikoloz Kipshidze and doctors of the rehabilitation center Empathy to be able to visit him any time at the private clinic, as well as lawyers and MPs to be allowed visits during work hourse.
Saakashvili also demanded for the authorities make sure that physicians at the private hospital work jointly with Empathy center doctors in diagnosing him and prescribing treatment.
- Saakashvili’s Health Deteriorated Further, Ombudsperson’s Experts Say
- Court Orders Penitentiary to Provide Proper Medical Treatment to Saakashvili
In the latest evaluation, the group of experts assembled by the Public Defender to monitor Saakashvili’s health said on April 27 that the ex-President was suffering from “protein starvation,” with his health further deteriorating since January.
Maia Sandu, President of Moldova, was the latest among the international community to express concern over “worrying reports on Mikheil Saakashvili’s deteriorating health” on May 6.
NB: This article went through multiple updates, the latest at 17:40 to reflect former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s stance on the Georgian Government’s offer.