US senators: incarcerated ex-pres. Saakashvili deserves to be treated 'with dignity'

  • The senators urged the Georgian government to ensure that Saakashvili's medical needs are met. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 20 Nov 2021 - 17:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

US senators Jim Risch, Jeanne Shaheen, Ron Johnson, and Ben Cardin have said that the former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili who is currently serving a prison sentence, 'deserves to be treated fairly and with dignity, in accordance with international standards and Georgian law.'

Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1 after a clandestine return from eight years in political exile. He denied all charges and announced a hunger strike.

The former president was transferred to Gori Military Hospital for treatment last night.

In a joint statement, the senators noted that they cautioned Saakashvili's return to Georgia would aggravate the country's 'polarized political situation.' However, they maintain that the Georgian government should ensure that Saakashvili's medical needs are met.

The senators further encouraged the political parties to 'act in the best interest of the Georgian people.'

We urgently call upon the Government of Georgia to prioritize the seriousness of Mr. Saakashvili’s situation, and take heed of the implications for the political stability of Georgia. Now is the time to put aside political differences for the benefit of the Georgian people, they said.

Saakashvili, who is currently a citizen of Ukraine, fled Georgia in 2013, a year after his United National Movement party lost the parliamentary elections to the Georgian Dream. In 2018, Georgian court convicted him in absentia on two counts of abuse of power and sentenced him to six years in prison.

He is now facing five additional charges, including illegal seizure of property, embezzlement, illegal rally dispersal, and illegal border crossing.