Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili says that the country’s recently detained ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili is staging a show with his hunger strike to spark tension ahead of municipal election runoffs on October 30.
Garibashvili says that individuals on hunger strike ‘never request seven cans of honey and several litres of natural juices.’
Very experienced and qualified doctors are monitoring Saakashvili’s health in Rustavi prison No.12. His health condition is satisfactory,” Garibashvili said, noting that ‘it is time for Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) opposition party to stop misleading the public.’
He said that Saakashvili, who was convicted in Georgia back in 2018 for abuse of authority and sentenced to six years in prison in absentia, illegally crossed into Georgia ahead of the recent October 2 municipal elections in Georgia ‘to spark tension and was detained by Georgian law enforcers without much noise or any complications’.
Saakashvili has been in political exile for eight years. He said he returned ahead of the October 2 municipal elections to help his UNM party to change the current Georgian Dream government via snap parliamentary elections.
Saakashvili went on hunger strike the same day he was detained in Tbilisi on October 1, stating that he has no plans to suspend it ‘as forms of expressing protest are limited in prison.’
He claims that all charges against him ‘are invented’ and that he is a personal prisoner of Russian President Vladimir Putin and ‘his subordinate’ Georgian Dream government.
The Georgian Special Penitentiary Service confirmed on Friday that Saakashvili requested honey and natural juices and received them.
The agency reiterated today that recent reports by opposition-minded TV channels, that Saakashvili’s health has worsened in prison due to hunger strike, are false.
Georgian Justice Minister Rati Bregadze stated today that the prison administration and its ‘very qualified staff and doctors’ take care of inmates round the clock, Saakashvili among them.
He stated that if Saakashvili’s health really worsens, doctors will make recommendations and the prison administration ‘will take all necessary steps.’
Saakashvili’s doctor Nikoloz Kipshidze told the opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi on the weekend that the ex-president’s health condition ‘has significantly worsened in prison due to hunger strike.’
He said that Saakashvili has thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin, and that hunger is never allowed for such patients.
Saakashvili himself called on supporters earlier today to ‘fully focus on municipal election runoffs rather than to mourn me beforehand.’
He and the UNM also announced a ‘large-rally’ in central Tbilisi on October 14.
Mother Giuli Alasania, and sons, Eduard and Nikoloz visited him in prison earlier today, stating that Saakashvili ‘seemed not as healthy as before.’