Georgian justice minister Rati Bregadze on Tuesday said the government was offering the imprisoned former president Mikheil Saakashvili to bring “any doctor from any foreign clinic” and involve them in his treatment in Georgia.
Bregadze said the offer, which comes on the backdrop of calls by Saakashvili’s lawyers and a part of domestic opposition to allow the former official a transfer abroad for treatment, was being made “based on the high responsibility that the government attaches to the life and health of each person”.
The minister said his body had addressed the national forensics bureau to assess the state of Saakashvili’s health, with relevant checkups scheduled, but added the imprisoned politician had refused a toxicological examination on him.
Today, the demand to transfer the convicted Saakashvili abroad for treatment is often heard. We should remind everyone that the convicted prisoner is serving his sentence in the penitentiary institutions on the territory of Georgia, and the ministry of justice does not have the legal leverage to make such a request”, he continued.
“Equality before the law is one of the main constitutional values that applies equally to any person in this country, and no one can be exempted by law”, Bregadze concluded.
Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021 after his clandestine return to Georgia. He is currently serving a six-year term for two separate abuse of power cases while in office, with three other cases involving his term pending.
Saakashvili was transferred from the No. 12 Prison in the city of Rustavi to the civilian clinic Vivamedi in capital Tbilisi in May, following an offer for the transfer from the justice ministry, made after demands on the matter from the former president’s medical team and a part of political opposition.
His lawyers and family members have claimed the former president is in “urgent need” of treatment abroad, adding local professionals had been “unable” to make “accurate diagnosis and ensure relevant treatment” for months.
Responding to the claims, the country’s justice ministry has said “all necessary services” have been ensured for the former president in detention since his arrest and have stressed his potential transfer for treatment abroad could only be ruled by courts.