No Decision on Enfeebled Saakashvili’s Release Plea

Visibly enfeebled ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili appeared before court on December 22 via video link to plead for his release or transfer abroad on health grounds. The court reached no decision and scheduled further hearing on 29 December.

Due to Saakashvili’s rapidly deteriorating health, the Tbilisi City Court Judge Giorgi Arevadze was supposed to deliberate whether to defer or suspend Saakashvili’s sentence. Mikheil Saakashvili was allowed to attend the court session this time, though he was able to do so only for a short time.

On December 14, Mikheil Saakashvili was barred from participating in the court hearing of his case. The Special Penitentiary Service and the Vivamedi Clinic claimed that due to technical reasons they were unable to connect Saakashvili to the court session as he had repeatedly requested.

The ruling party accused Saakashvili of “simulation.” MP Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairperson of the Georgian Dream party, noted that “we’ve seen just another simulation, however, simulations seem to require talent, and this was a very talentless simulation.”

“Do you believe Mikheil Saakashvili’s condition is so grave that he can not comb his hair or shave his beard? I do not believe this, and the absolute majority of the Georgian population does not believe it,” Mamuka Mdinaradze, the chairperson of the Georgian Dream parliamentary faction, added. According to him, Saakashvili decided to deceive the public but he was exposed in simulation.

However, doctors speak of Saakashvili’s grave condition. Today, American psychiatrist Eric Goldsmith testified to the court about the condition of the imprisoned ex-president. The expert spoke about Saakashvili’s diagnosis and said that he suffers from rapidly progressing dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eric Goldsmith also ruled out the possibility of Mikheil Saakashvili engaging in simulations.

Nika Melia, incumbent chairperson of Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party, said it is crucial to complete the process of court hearings on the matter in a timely manner. “Just as an unfair decision would be harmful, so too would it be harmful to prolong the process even if the correct decision is made. It is important to do all this quickly. Technically, the process can be completed by the end of the year. It may take 2-3 days for the judge to issue a verdict. The process can be completed easily by the end of the year.”

“If we are convinced that the processes are deliberately delayed, we will have to make concrete decisions. Protracting kills a person,” Melia added. He also said that if the government prolongs the process unnecessarily, it will be considered a death sentence for Mikheil Saakashvili.

Commenting on Saakashvili’s trial, MEP Viola von Cramon tweeted: “Last time I met Mikheil Saakashvili he was a healthy man. This is how he looks today a bit over a year in a Georgian prison. The well-being of every prisoner including Saakashvili is a responsibility of the Government of Georgia.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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