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Mikheil Saakashvili's health worsens, doctors advise to transfer him abroad

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Monday, December 12, 2022
Georgian politics is still polarized, and one of the important factors leading to polarization is the issue of Saakashvili being transferred abroad for treatment.

On this topic, on the one hand, the ruling Georgian Dream and on the other hand, most of the opposition parties and non-principal parties have radically different positions.

Judging by the statements of government representatives, they do not believe that it is necessary to transfer Saakashvili abroad for medical treatment, which is demanded by their opponents. In principle, the decision on the issue is entrusted to the judge, and the further development of events depends on this decision. The health condition of Mikheil Saakashvili, who is in prison, is getting worse and worse. There are already several conclusions from local and foreign doctors about it. The third president of Georgia is confirmed to have several serious illnesses and it is considered necessary to take him abroad for treatment.

Several opposition parties, non-governmental organizations, and some doctors are actively demanding the physical survival of Mikheil Saakashvili. According to their statements, since Saakashvili's health condition, despite the treatment, cannot be improved in the Georgian medical institution, it is necessary to transfer him abroad for treatment.

Proponents of transferring Saakashvili for treatment are trying to depoliticize this issue and point out that it is only about saving human life. Saakashvili himself has been declaring for a long time that he is no longer interested in Georgian politics. There are mainly two ways to achieve the release of Saakashvili, who is in prison. President Salome Zurabishvili's pardon of Saakashvili is one thing. However, even if Zurabishvili wants to, there are several court proceedings against Saakashvili, and without the completion of these proceedings, the president cannot pardon the arrested person.

The second way to release Saakashvili is through the court. The judge, due to Saakashvili's health condition, can make a decision to postpone Saakashvili's imprisonment or release him altogether his health condition. Government officials claim that the court is independent and no one will interfere in the judge's decision. The representatives of the opposition do not believe these statements and believe that the judge will only voice what the government dictates.

The representatives of Georgian Dream make almost the same statements and completely rule out Saakashvili's release for treatment and sending him abroad. They do not believe that Saakashvili is really seriously ill and they think that the ex-president is just 'simulating', 'not eating properly' and if it becomes necessary, or the prisoner demands, doctors can be brought to him from abroad.

According to the same statements, Saakashvili "must answer for the crimes committed" and come to terms with the fact that he will have to spend years in prison. 'Georgian Dream' is trying to convince the public of the correctness of its position, and in this regard, official propaganda works quite effectively. Pro-government media is full of materials directed against Saakashvili.

On December 9, if nothing has changed, the judge should make a decision to transfer Mikheil Saakashvili abroad for treatment due to his health condition, or consider the presented conclusions regarding Saakashvili's health condition to be groundless.

This is a peculiar boundary, which, according to the decision made, will either contribute to mitigating the conflict in the country or, on the contrary, will further increase polarization. As already said, the opposition does not believe in the independence of the court, and if they leave Saakashvili in prison, they will consider it a political decision dictated not by the judge, but by the government, which comes from Bidzina Ivanishvili, and they consider it a confirmation that Saakashvili is "Putin's personal prisoner."

Saakashvili's party, which has a serious internal conflict, reached an agreement that the 'internal party elections' will be temporarily postponed and the UNM will actively try to achieve the transfer of Saakashvili abroad for treatment through protest rallies.

Probably, several other opposition parties and non-governmental organizations will join the National Movement.

However, some are skeptical that periodic or permanent protest rallies, even if these rallies are numerous, will successfully put pressure on the ruling Georgian Dream and agree to transfer Saakashvili for treatment. A negative reaction is expected in the West as well, but it does not have a significant impact on the current government of Georgia. The situation will, of course, become even more tense if Saakashvili's health continues to deteriorate.

It is clear that the government is facing an important choice and the further development of events will depend a lot on the decision the government makes.