Mamuka Mdinaradze, the Executive Secretary of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Wednesday responded to calls by a part of the domestic opposition and some MEPs for granting the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on medical grounds by saying the country’s European future “cannot be conditioned on Saakashvili’s stomach”.
In his comments against claims by Saakashvili’s legal team and family on an urgent need to transfer him from the civilian clinic in Tbilisi where he is undergoing treatment to a facility abroad, Mdinaradze said connecting the “speculative and fraudulent” topic of Saakashvili's medical condition with Georgia's European future was a “false narrative”.
“Georgia's European future cannot be conditioned on Saakashvili's stomach. Such calls, suggestions and threats are unacceptable, damaging and insulting to our country”, he said.
Every citizen of Georgia knows that this man has a dark past. This man is the creator of a system that tortured, raped and killed prisoners in prison”, Mdinaradze added in reference to the previous United National Movement Government of Saakashvili.
The GD official also said “no one” would be able to impose sanctions on Georgia based on the former President’s treatment in detention “simply because Saakashvili does not eat [the required diet in disobedience of doctors at the clinic]”.
Saakashvili, who has Ukrainian citizenship and held a public post in the country, was arrested on return to Georgia in October 2021 and is serving a six-year term for abuse of power in a case he had been convicted on.
The former President has been undergoing treatment at the Vivamedi civilian clinic in Tbilisi since May 2022, with his legal team and family alleging inadequate medical provisions and calling for his transfer abroad.
The Tbilisi City Court in February rejected an appeal for granting Saakashvili release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on medical grounds, with the Tbilisi Court of Appeals upholding the ruling earlier this month.