Ruling party head: Saakashvili continues to risk others’ lives

  • Head of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze called on former president Mikheil Saakashvili to stop the hunger strike. Photo: Georgian Dream press office., 17 Nov 2021 - 16:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

Head of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Irakli Kobakhidze says that former president Mikheil Saakashvili was putting people’s life at risk while in office and continues to do so when he is imprisoned. 

Kobakhidze said earlier today that Saakashvili is responsible for the 26 individuals who are on hunger strike in solidarity with him. 

He called on Saakashvili to stop his 48-day hunger strike, ‘have a rest in prison, and allow the country to also have a rest [from him].’ 

Kobakhidze reiterated that Saakashvili is serving his term in accordance with the law, ‘all his rights are ensured,’ and that ‘all his and the opposition’s demands are illegitimate.’ 

Proper treatment in prison and ensuring medical care for him is our responsibility. What else should we do? Should we appoint snap parliamentary elections (as Saakashvili wishes)? This is funny. The shameful person (Saakashvili) should stop his hunger strike as the European Court of Human Rights advised him and stop blackmailing others with his actions,” Kobakhidze said. 

Kobakhidze also stated that Gldani Prison No.18 hospital, where Saakashvili is now, is well-equipped and is the only hospital in Georgia which is the ‘most-experienced’ in providing post-hunger-strike treatment. 

He also stated that ‘on the one hand there is no need to transfer Saakashvili to a civil clinic (as he demands), and on the other hand the transportation carries risks.’ 

Kobakhidze stated that the opposition activists may cause unrest near the civil clinic which may put Saakashvili’s life and health at risk. 

He said that  the opposition has no public support to ‘achieve its illegal goals, noting that the opposition lies when it says that the country’s western course is endangered. 

It was Saakashvili and his party (the United National Movement) who were insulting our foreign allies and partners,” Kobakhidze said. 

Saakashvili stated last week that he is ready to suspend his hunger strike if he is brought to a civil clinic which will ensure his  proper rehabilitation in the post-hunger-strike period. 

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 offenses.

He says he returned to Georgia after eight years in political exile to remove the Georgian Dream from power. 

Droa opposition leader Elene Khoshtaria has been on hunger strike since November 3, demanding Saakashvili’s transfer to a civil clinic, as well as nine opposition MPs and one opposition member Gia Baramidze, head of Association of Clinics Vili Pachkoria, six members of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party in Zugdidi City Assembly and one supporter of Saakashvili (in Zugdidi) and six UNM members in Rustavi City Assembly. 

Georgian opera singer Paata Burchuladze also stated yesterday that he is on hunger strike to attract international attention to ensure Saakashvili’s transfer to a civil clinic.