Georgian Justice Minister Rati Bregadze on Monday said neither the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili nor his family and legal team had requested involvement of foreign medical professionals in his treatment following an offer by the Georgian authorities.
Speaking to the media following the weekly Government meeting, the Minister said his office had offered Saakashvili’s family in November 2022 to invite “any doctor, from any foreign clinic” to monitor his health at the Vivamedi civilian clinic in Tbilisi, where Saakashvili has been undergoing treatment since May of that year.
The official also rejected media reports alleging the Government had prevented a group of Polish professionals from visiting the former official in the clinic as “fake”.
Rikard Jozwiak, the Europe Editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, last week tweeted Polish professionals had been granted access to Saakashvili, with the date of the visit not specified. He also added the approval was not related to the former official’s transfer to Poland “or elsewhere” for treatment.
EU officials: a ???????? medical team has been granted access to #Saakashvili. No date yet when they will travel to #Georgia. and this is NOT about a transfer of the former President to Poland or elsewhere.— Rikard Jozwiak (@RikardJozwiak) March 16, 2023
In comments on the recent rejection by the Tbilisi City Court and the Court of Appeals of a request to grant Saakashvili release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on health grounds, and subsequent claims of his legal team of intentions to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, Bregadze said the decision was “completely up to them”.
He also noted the ECHR had in 2021 rejected Saakashvili’s application over his alleged ill-treatment in prison, likewise denying his appeal for his transfer from a prison hospital to a private clinic and instead urging him to call off his hunger strike.
I have said it many times that Saakashvili’s rights as a prisoner, like other inmates in the country, have never been violated”, Bregadze said.
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. Three other cases against him are pending.