Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has again not been allowed by the Special Penitentiary Service of Georgia to attend a trial in Tbilisi City Court today about an embezzlement case in which he is implicated.
The case concerns the embezzlement of 8.8 million GEL in state funds while Saakashvili served as the president of Georgia.
Earlier this month, Saakashvili was not allowed to attend a trial hearing in another case which concerns the dispersal of an opposition rally in Tbilisi in November 2007, and an illegal raid on Imedi TV.
Saakashvili was charged with abuse of power in the case.
The Special Penitentiary Service says that opposition activists had plans to cause unrest on the streets during the transportation of Saakashvili to court during the previous trial hearing, and that law enforcement agencies are investigating this.
In a written statement the Ministry of Justice Penitentiary Department said the refusal was due to both security as well as medical concerns since “Saakashvili had ceased receiving treatment”— Formula NEWS | English (@FormulaGe) November 15, 2021
Chief penitentiary medical officer had earlier said #Saakashvili was being treated pic.twitter.com/QAzzse8apf
The agency also stated that Saakashvili’s presence at the trial could have further complicated his health, as the former president has been on hunger strike for 46 days.
The Special Penitentiary Service stated that Saakashvili can participate in the hearing remotely.
Saakashvili said yesterday, however, that he wishes to attend the trial hearing in person.
His lawyers maintain that the State Penitentiary Service's refusal is ‘groundless’ and that ‘Saakashvili’s rights are being violated.’
Saakashvili was convicted in Georgia in absentia in 2018 for abuse of power and was sentenced to six years in prison.
He has also been charged with five other offences.