Georgian opposition representatives have welcomed the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) monitoring Saakashvili’s health, in accordance with a complaint submitted by the former president's lawyers.
Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1 after eight years in political exile, and has been on hunger strike for 42 days, maintaining that he is a political prisoner.
In its interim decision released yesterday, ECHR urged Saakashvili to call off his hunger strike and obliged the Georgian government to inform the court about Saakashvili’s health and ensure proper medical care for him now and after the hunger strike.
The court said nothing about Saakashvili’s transfer to a public clinic from a prison hospital, as requested by the applicant.
The court is scheduled to return to the issue by November 24.
The Georgian Justice Ministry says that the court rejected Saakashvili’s request for transportation to a private clinic.
We welcome the ECHR decision which aims to protect the rights of an inmate. The decision once again confirmed the presence of high standards in the Georgian penitentiary system,” Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said.
Opposition MP Salome Samadashvili says it is good the ECHR has begun monitoring Saakashvili’s health.
“By this decision, which may change as it is interim, the court has told us to try to live in a civilized manner. It is regrettable that we have to address the ECHR about the health of the country’s former president,” Samadashvili said.
Droa opposition party leader Elene Khoshtaria says the ECHR has clearly established Saakashvili is in fact on hunger strike, and ‘not speculating with the issue as the Georgian Dream government wants to portray it.’