Georgian PM calls Saakashvili’s efforts to damage country’s reputation “shameful”

“It is in their interest for peace [in the country] to end, [and] be war and destruction, as it is happening now in Ukraine”, the Government head said. Photo via Government Administration, 19 Jul 2023 - 19:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday said it was “shameful” that “simulant” imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili had been paying “millions of dollars” to damage the country’s reputation,after the latest disclosure on the United States Department of Justice’s website of activities of a lobbying firm associated with the former official’s lawyers.

Published on Tuesday, the new information revealed the lobbying company Akerman had been involved in drawing up a draft resolution for the European Parliament that was critical of the Georgian Government around Saakashvili’s imprisonment, preparation of articles about the health condition of the former President for international media, and persuasion of US senators to pursue sanctions against Georgia over his alleged ill-treatment in detention.

In his remarks over the matter, Garibashvili noted that both Saakashvili’s family and their lobbyists were interested in “not having peace, stability and economic development of Georgia”. 

It is in their interest for peace [in the country] to end, [and] be war and destruction, as it is happening now in Ukraine”, the Government head said. 

Garibashvili stressed that the European Court of Human Rights ruling in May that rejected the imprisoned official’s request to be transferred abroad for treatment had “put an end to this shameful campaign”, which unfortunately included “corrupt ex-politicians, some so-called Europeans”, and pointed out that no one could oppose the “truth” that “has been on the Georgian Government’s side”.

The Government head also noted that a medical professional from a visiting group of Polish doctors assessing Saakashvili’s treatment - offered by the staff of the Tbilisi’s Vivamedi clinic, where the former official is receiving treatment - attempting to sneak a sample taken from the former official through his shoe last week, was “an incomprehensible action”.

He added that his Government had kept his promise by giving Saakashvili’s family the opportunity to bring “any doctor from any clinic” for treatment, but emphasised that the Polish doctor’s action was “neither on-site treatment nor an attempt to do so”.

This raises a lot of questions. They themselves have discredited the entire process. Of course, all credibility in this process has been lost. Therefore, we will revise our approach”, he added and further noted that the Government’s offer to Saakashvili’s family to bring doctors for treatment “remains valid”.

Saakashvili is currently serving a six-year-term for abuse of power while in office in two separate cases, while three other cases involving him are still pending. He was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021 after eight years abroad, following his clandestine return to Georgia ahead of domestic municipal elections.