Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Monday said those who called for the release of the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili on health grounds while knowing he was “faking his health condition” “must apologise to the Georgian public”.
Kobakhidze’s comment followed a social media post by Saakashvili last week, in which he expressed his intention to “actively participate” in domestic politics.
Saakashvili's, let’s say, recovery, can have two theoretical reasons: a miracle, or the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. I think the reason is the ECHR decision”, Kobakhidze said in reference to the ECHR ruling that last month rejected Saakashvili’s request to be transferred to Poland’s capital Warsaw for treatment.
“There was a 600-day political campaign [...] They claimed to the public, many even made them believe that this person was dying every day for 600 days. [...] Suddenly this person becomes normally healthy. This is a pure fakery [and] speculation, but for 600 days the public, the [country’s] international partners had been led to believe that this person was dying. It is just shameful”, the GD official noted in reference to supporters of Saakashvili.
Kobakhidze stressed the former President had “no chance of any success” in domestic politics, and added he was “deservedly” serving his sentence.
Earlier today Mikheil Sarjveladze, the Chair of the Georgian Parliament's Committee on Human Rights, said the efforts of Saakashvili and his team to return to politics in the country was a “forced move”, and alleged their “main goal” of “evading justice”.
Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021, after his clandestine return to Georgia, and is serving a six-year term for two separate abuse of power cases, with three other cases involving his term pending. He has been receiving treatment at the Vivamedi clinic in the capital.
His lawyers and family members have claimed the former President is in “urgent need” of treatment abroad, alleging local professionals had been “unable” to make “accurate diagnosis and ensure relevant treatment”.