Questioning ECHR’s ruling on ex-Pres. Saakashvili’s health will “harm” Kyiv - Parliament Speaker

Speaker Papuashvili said “someone is trying to spoil Georgia-Ukraine relations, and this time it is not Russia”. Photo: Parliament press office, 05 Jul 2023 - 15:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Wednesday said the Ukrainian Government “questioning” the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, which in May rejected an appeal by Mikheil Saakashvili, the imprisoned former President of Georgia and a citizen of Ukraine, for transfer abroad from Georgia for treatment, would “not benefit” its legal fight against Russia for the latter’s ongoing invasion. 

Today, the least thing Ukraine needs is to question judgments of the ECHR and other international institutions”, Papuashvili said in comments on the Monday’s tweet by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which he accused Tbilisi of “killing” Saakashvili “on the instructions” of Moscow and announced the Georgian Ambassador would be sent back to Tbilisi for consultations over his transfer. 

In his press comments, Papuashvili also highlighted the decision - called “deeply concerning” and an “extreme form of escalation of diplomatic relations against a friendly state and people” by Georgia’s foreign office on Tuesday - had been welcomed by a part of the domestic opposition and several foreign actors, who he said were “only verbally” portraying themselves as supporters of friendly ties between Ukraine and Georgia. 

Claiming the decision would damage Ukraine’s interests first and be “harmful” for bilateral ties, the Parliamentary official said “someone is trying to spoil Georgia-Ukraine relations, and this time it is not Russia”. 

Zelenskyy' tweet came following a trial hearing in Tbilisi City Court on Monday over the case of the 2007 violent breakup of an opposition protest in the capital city - during Saakashvili’s time in office - which the former official joined via a video link and accused the Government of damaging his health after lifting his shirt to show protruding ribs.

Rati Bregadze, the Justice Minister, reiterated later on Tuesday the former President had been engaged in “self-harm” since his arrest in Tbilisi in October 2021, and refused to follow the doctors’ instructions in a bid to “escape justice”. 

Saakashvili, who is currently serving a six-year term for abuse of power while in office in two separate cases, was arrested after eight years abroad on his return ahead of municipal elections in Georgia. At the time he was serving as a Chair of the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council. 

Georgian Dream officials have claimed the former President had been “sent” by unspecified forces to spark unrest in the country, “overthrow the Government” and later “drag Georgia” into the Russia-Ukraine conflict that erupted about five months after his return to Georgia.