A group of 31 former Georgian diplomats addressed the international community, including the EU, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE, among others, to raise international communities’ awareness of imprisoned ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s ailing health and calling on them to “react as strongly as possible to these concerning developments.”
In their letter, the group cited the recent findings of an independent team of U.S. medical experts which concluded that Saakashvili “suffers from debilitating psychological, neurological, orthopedic, and gastrointestinal conditions directly caused by confinement, […] [and] evidence of arsenic and heavy metals, including mercury in President Saakashvili’s body, leading the medical experts to strongly recommend the immediate transfer in an advanced medical facility in the United States or Western Europe.”
The group underscored that allowing Saakashvili to be treated abroad “is the first step, as it would give the former president access to Western-standard testing and treatment, free from concerns of political interference.”
Pointing to the recent resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which stated that Saakashvili is a political prisoner, the group stressed that he must be freed. “As Georgia is seeking to obtain the candidate status to the European Union, especially at a time when all of Europe’s security is under threat, developments like this one are absolutely unacceptable,” they said.
Giorgi Badridze, the former Amb. to the United Kingdom, Mamuka Gamkrelidze, the former Amb. to China, Mongolia, and Vietnam, Paata Gaprindashvili, former Permanent Representative of Georgia to the OSCE, Gigi Gigiadze, the former Amb. to Denmark and Ireland, Nikoloz Vashakidze, former Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council, Natia Japaridze, former Amb. to France, and Ekaterina Meiering-Mikadze, former Amb. to Jordan, Lebanon, and the Arab Gulf States, were among the signatories of the letter.
The letter comes several days after Saakashvili’s lawyers petitioned the Tbilisi City Court to either release Saakashvili or postpone his sentence per the law’s provisions, for health reasons.
- 02/12/2022 – Saakashvili’s Lawyers Appeal for Suspended Sentence
The petition was presented by one of his lawyers, Shalva Khachapuridze, who explained that the 15-volume petition details the conclusions of medical experts, which are based on a physical examination of the former President, and also contain the photos that they took during that time. According to Khachapuridze, “it is inconceivable for the Court to not make a decision to release or to postpone [Saakashvili’s] sentence based on […] the materials attached to the case.”