The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party chairman Irakli Kobakhidze has responded to the opposition’s demand to transfer former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili from prison to a private hospital, saying the opposition should avoid ultimatums.
Saakashvili, who was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1 after a clandestine return from eight years in political exile, considers himself a ‘political prisoner’ and claims to be on a hunger strike.
During the rally held on November 6 outside Rustavi Prison No.12, where Saakashvili is serving his sentence, the head of the opposition United National Movement (UNM), Nika Melia, announced that the opposition would give the government 24 hours to transfer Saakashvili to a multifunctional clinic.
However, as the demand has not been met, the opposition is planning to hold a mass demonstration on Freedom Square in the capital of Tbilisi this evening.
Kobakhidze said the government is responsible for peace, and if the opposition ‘attempts to take destructive steps, they will receive the strictest response.’
Kobakhidze added that Saakashvili is ‘fake’ and so is his hunger strike, as the penitentiary service released footage in which the ex-president is seen eating in prison.
If one is on an actual hunger strike, they are responsible for that. If one is on a fake hunger strike, the responsibility also lies with them. Therefore, they should keep the shameful message, that someone is allegedly killing Saakashvili, to themselves, Kobakhidze explained.
Saakashvili, who is currently a citizen of Ukraine, was convicted by a Georgian court in absentia in 2018 on two counts of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison.
The former president is now facing five additional charges, including illegal seizure of property, embezzlement, illegal rally dispersal, and illegal border crossing.