Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who reportedly has been on hunger strike for 38 days, has refused to receive hunger-related treatment, including tests, following the release of footage by the Georgian Special Penitentiary Service of him receiving food in Rustavi Prison No.12 on November 6.
Saakashvili's personal physician Nikoloz Kipshidze has stated that the former president's decision is ‘a tragedy,’ noting that his condition ‘gets worse with each passing hour.’
He also urged members of the medical council to meet immediately, as Saakashvili’s health is critical.
It is about saving his life. He was receiving the medications that would save his life; however, after the release of footage on television yesterday, he refused,” Kipshidze said.
Day 39 of a hunger strike. #FreeSaakashvili— Mikheil Saakashvili (@SaakashviliM) November 8, 2021
Saakashvili’s lawyer Shota Tutberidze stated that the medical council will assess his health condition most likely today.
The primary concern is to take care of the health of the third Georgian president. Due to the recent actions of the government [release of footage], his vital indicators are already in danger,” Tutberidze said.
However, the penitentiary service of the country says Saakashvili's health is stable, noting that he is ‘under the constant supervision of medical staff.’
The body states that the medical council, which included a resuscitator, a neurologist and Saakashvili’s personal physician, concluded on November 5 that ‘at this stage, no serious pathology was revealed.’
Mikheil Saakashvili, with his consent, underwent clinical-laboratory examinations at the facility, the results of which at this stage do not allow us to say that his health has deteriorated,” the penitentiary service reports.
Saakashvili refused to receive hunger-related treatment before as well, on October 29, due to the Georgian government’s refusal to transfer him to a civil hospital; however, Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria stated that Saakashvili has been receiving small amounts of juice and mineral purees for medical purposes since October 30.
The release of the footage from prison was preceded by Georgian Justice Minister Rati Bregadze’s comments that Saakashvili is eating a diet outside ‘medical designation’ in contradiction of his hunger strike.
#Georgia: Supporters of the imprisoned former president Mikheil #Saakashvili held a rally outside the prison in the city of #Rustavi, demanding the high-profile inmate is moved to a private clinic due to health conditions. pic.twitter.com/7ZQxoX1CC8— agenda.ge (@agenda_ge) November 6, 2021
The head of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party, Nika Melia, gave 24 hours to the government for the admittance of Saakashvili into a civil hospital, or face a large-scale demonstration on Freedom Square in the capital Tbilisi, scheduled for 8 pm today. Saakashvili still remains in prison.
Saakashvili, who served as the country’s third president from 2004 to 2013, was arrested on October 1 ahead of municipal elections in the country after allegedly illegally crossing the border.
He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment in two cases of abuse of power in absentia in 2018, and is charged with several other offences, including illegal seizure of property, embezzlement, illegal rally dispersal, and illegal border crossing.