Nino Nadiradze, the head of the Vivamedi clinic in Tbilisi where the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili is undergoing treatment, on Friday said the former official’s “non-adjustment” to life in detention was a major cause of his health problems.
Nadiradze made the comment in an interview at the ongoing trial hearing in Tbilisi City Court on whether Saakashvili will be granted release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on medical grounds.
She pointed to Saakashvili’s “deliberate actions” of “self-harm”, alleging the attempts were being made by the imprisoned former President to create conditions for his release.
She also claimed Saakashvili was refusing to accept all types of food despite being in condition to receive nutrition.
His psycho-emotional background is quite complicated. He knows his good health will not ensure his freedom, so he does not help either himself or doctors in ensuring recovery”, Nadiradze said.
She also accused the family and legal team of Saakashvili in “encouraging” his “disobedience” to the medical personnel, and even his potential “suicide”, by making false promises over his “rapid release” and bringing “inappropriate market food” or a “black bread with garlic” to add to his diet.
Saakashvili, who currently holds Ukrainian citizenship, was arrested in Tbilisi in 2021 ahead of municipal elections. He claimed he returned to help his United National Movement party win the elections.
The clinic endocrinologist has explained the calorie count [to Saakashvili’s representatives] [and] which products are needed in what quantity, many times. They are well aware of this”, Nadiradze added.
The clinic head noted since the former official’s transfer to the clinic, the personnel had to work “in hellish conditions” created by “continuous pressure” from individuals related to Saakashvili.
These people not only express their distrust of the clinic and its efforts, but clinic personnel also have to tolerate unfair accusations, a cascade of insults and a continuous pressure on them”, she noted.
Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021 after his clandestine return to Georgia. He is serving a six-year term for two separate cases of abuse of power while in office, with three other cases involving his term pending.
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” for months.
In contrast to the claims, the Government officials say that the former President had been engaged in “self-harm” and disobedience of doctors’ instructions, with the aim of facilitating an “escape from justice”.