Reports on ex-pres Saakashvili’s “critical” condition “not true”, says clinic doctor

Former president Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi on his clandestine return to the country ahead of October 2021 municipal elections. Photo: IPN, 06 Oct 2022 - 14:55, Tbilisi,Georgia

Zurab Chkhaidze, a clinical director at Vivamedi clinic in Tbilisi where the convicted former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has been undergoing treatment since May, on Thursday dismissed claims by some opposition politicians over the “extremely poor condition” of his health as “not true”. 

In response to claims by members of the United National Movement opposition party early on Thursday that the former president was “on the verge of death” and “unable to speak or move”, Chkhaidze confirmed Saakashvili had a temperature and high blood pressure, with additional checks scheduled to discover the reason. 

Since the patient is from a penitentiary institution, information about his current health should be obtained from the medical department of the penitentiary institution. However, I can definitely say that his condition is not critical”, Chkhaidze noted.

Zurab Chkhaidze said additional checks were scheduled for Saakashvili. Photo: IPN.

Georgian justice minister Rati Bregadze said in August the government could invite independent medical experts to check Saakashvili’s health in a bid to “remove all questions” around the matter, amid claims by Saakashvili’s legal team and family that the former president was in “urgent need” of “proper treatment” abroad.

Arrested in Tbilisi on his clandestine return to the country ahead of October 2021 municipal elections, Saakashvili has claimed his former 49-day hunger strike and “improper treatment while in custody” have “seriously deteriorated” his health.

Rejecting the allegations, Georgian Dream authorities have maintained the rights of the former president have been “fully protected”, including in his transfer for treatment to Gori Military Hospital in November and then to Vivamedi clinic in May. 

Facing several charges, Saakasvili is currently serving a six-year prison term after he was sentenced in absentia in 2018 on two separate charges of abuse of power.