Ex-Pres Saakashvili could become unable to move due to “serious” weight loss - Public Defender Medical Council

The former President was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Agenda.ge, 04 Apr 2023 - 17:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Medical Council under the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia on Tuesday said the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili was suffering from progressive loss of muscle mass and strength that could seriously limit his movement. 

In its seventh report on the health condition of Saakashvili in detention, the Council composed of five medical professionals said the former official had lost four kilograms from their previous visit on February 19 and weighed 63 kg. 

Along with sarcopenia - loss of muscle mass - Saakashvili is also suffering from a “significant drop” in blood pressure, accompanied by loss of balance and coordination, a “significant decrease” in mental functions and depression, the report said. 

It added the patient had also entered an “active phase of catabolism”, with loss of muscle and fat due to absence of required food and nutrients. The conclusion stressed Saakashvili would be “unable to move” if his weight decreased to the “critical level” of 52-53 kg, with the development also triggering “irreversible changes” in his body. 

In a press briefing in late February, doctors of the Vivamedi civilian clinic in Tbilisi, where Saakashvili has been receiving treatment since May 2022, said the former official was only taking a “quarter to a third” of his necessary daily calorie intake, against their efforts. 

He only eats the food he wants. He eats about 300 to 400 calories a day, when an intake of at least 1,700 calories is necessary”, said the doctors, alleging Saakashvili’s attempts to facilitate his release from prison on health grounds. 

On March 2, the Tbilisi Court of Appeals upheld the verdict of the Tbilisi City Court that denied Saakashvili’s release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on health grounds, rejecting the claims of the former President’s legal team on his alleged need for “urgent treatment abroad due to multiple and serious health problems”.

Georgian Government members and penitentiary authorities have been challenging the position by saying that Saakashvili has been engaged in “self-harm through disobeying doctors”, in a bid to facilitate his “illegal release” from detention.

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 a case of abuse of power he had been convicted on.