The opposition United National Movement (UNM) members and supporters have gathered in front of the parliament building this evening in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi, demanding former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s release from prison.
The UNM chairman Nika Melia announced that rallies will be held in several locations of Tbilisi from tomorrow.
Starting from 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, rallies will be held simultaneously in three places: in front of the Justice Ministry, in front of the so-called Module building, and in front of the Heath Ministry, Melia said.
Melia later added Tbilisi City Court, where Saakashvili’s trial is scheduled tomorrow afternoon, as the fourth rally location.
Currently a citizen of Ukraine, Saakashvili was convicted by Georgian court in absentia in 2018 on two counts of abuse of power and was sentenced to six years in prison.
The former president was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1 after a clandestine return from eight years in political exile.
Saakashvili is now facing five additional charges, including illegal seizure of property, embezzlement, illegal rally dispersal, and illegal border crossing. He denies all charges, considers himself a ‘political prisoner’ and claims to be on a hunger strike.
The former president demanded to be taken to a civil clinic for treatment. However, he was transferred to Gldani Prison No.18 hospital last evening.
In a letter released from prison hospital, Saakashvili claimed that the purpose of his transfer to prison hospital was his physical destruction under Russian president Vladimir Putin’s order.