Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Friday said the European Court of Human Rights' rejection of the country’s imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s request on his transfer abroad on health grounds had “put an end to a slanderous campaign” against his Government.
In his press comments, the head of the Government noted the ruling - which came last week - had also rejected Saakashvili’s motion on his transfer to another medical facility inside the country from Tbilisi's Vivamedi clinic, and said it showed allegations by a part of the domestic opposition over Saakashvili’s maltreatment in custody were “fake” and targeted to “damage the country’s image”.
Garibashvili claimed his Government's opponents had launched the “anti-national and anti-state campaign” since the arrest of the former official in Tbilisi in October 2021, following his clandestine return to the country after eight years.
“Many friends, European leaders, colleagues talk to me and tell me that they have never seen such an extreme and unbridled campaign from any country. Moreover, they tell me it means hostility [against the country]”, Garibashvili said, adding the alleged campaign aimed at blaming the current Georgian Government for “torturing and bringing Saakashvili to death”.
In his remarks the PM also urged domestic TV channels to "take an interest" in the source of the almost one million dollars paid by the former official’s mother to the United-States based law firm Akerman to lobby the US Government to help free Saakashvili.
The disclosure of the law firm, filed in February under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, showed it had received $917,177 from Saakashvili’s family for the purpose.