Mikheil Sarjveladze, the Chair of the Georgian Parliament's Committee on Human Rights, on Wednesday called “comical” the proposal of Levan Khabeishvili, the newly elected Chair of the opposition United National Movement party, that made offers to authorities in exchange for releasing the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The Parliament’s official’s response followed the statement of Khabeishvili, who on Tuesday said he and his party were “ready to leave the City Council, the Parliament, the central office of the party and start fighting for our country from a negative balance” in exchange for seeing Saakashvili released.
In his comments, Sarjveladze said he did not understand why the newly elected Chair of the party “should make such a non-serious statement”, and added the proposal looked “very bad and can diminish the political process”.
This is not a serious topic. This is not an issue that can be resolved by such political statements. I don't know, maybe he doesn’t understand that release from prison is strictly a legal issue, and it cannot be the subject of a political agreement”, Sarjveladze said.
Khabeishvili’s comment followed his election in the UNM Chair vote on Monday, which saw a defeat for incumbent Nika Melia, perceived as an adversary of Saakashvili.
In contrast, the new Chair is seen as a close ally of the imprisoned former President, and made a pledge following the election to ensure his release, including by “storming” the clinic where Saakashvili is receiving medical treatment.
Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021, after his clandestine return to the country where he was wanted for charges related to cases dating back to his time in office.