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Ministry of Justice Offers Saakashvili Transfer to Clinic

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Minister of Justice, Rati Bregadze has announced that the third President of Georgia in custody, Mikheil Saakashvili, will be offered to be transferred to the Vivamedi Clinic in order to prevent a possible deterioration of his health. The decision was made public at the press conference held after the government session.

According to Bregadze, convict Saakashvili has been prescribed medical treatment, but he selectively receives only a part of the medication, thus actually refusing, according to his own decision, full treatment. He has also decided to selectively eat food and, ‘naturally, is endangering his own health’.

“We, as a responsible state, act in the best interests of the health and life of any human being. Therefore, as in the case of any other prisoner, Mikheil Saakashvili, in order to avoid possible complications, will be offered to be taken to the clinic ‘Vivamed’, where he will be examined and, if necessary, will receive appropriate treatment.”

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has welcomed the proposal by the country’s Justice Ministry. Her administration said that all measures have to be taken to ensure the health of the former President, stressing the importance of eliminating questions regarding the issue both in the society and from European partners.

Responding to the offer, Saakashvili has set a number of conditions before agreeing to the transfer - ensuring permanent access to him for family members, his personal physician Nikoloz Kipshidze, and members of a commission set up by the Empathy NGO to monitor his condition, along with lawyers and MPs.

Additionally, Saakashvili asked for the involvement of the Empathy Centre in his medical examination and treatment, with the participation of members of the Public Defender's Medical Council set up for the same purpose.

The members of the council visited the third president in prison on April 22, after a break of almost 4 months. Council’s report, published on April 27, states former President had developed anorexia and was suffering from a lack of proteins as a result of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, recommending a ‘timely, complex neuro-psychological and physical rehabilitation’ for him.

At May 10 plenary session of the parliament, Khatia Dekanoidze, chairman of the United National Movement - United Opposition "Power is in Unity" faction, addressed the majority MPs and the government to send international medical experts to the prison to study Saakashvili's health condition.

Previous day members of the United National Movement faction said they were ready to take Saakashvili hostage if his request for medical treatment abroad was granted. According to them, Saakashvili would return to Georgia after rehabilitation.

Former President of Georgia, a citizen of Ukraine Saakashvili, who was sentenced to 6 years in prison in two cases, returned to Georgia at the end of September 2021. He was arrested on October 1, the day before the local elections.

On the day of his arrest, he went on a hunger strike. Due to the aggravation of the situation, on the 50th day of the hunger strike, Mikheil Saakashvili agreed to stop the protest if he was taken to Gori Military Hospital for treatment. His lawyers say the treatment has failed and it is necessary to take Saakashvili abroad.