The Georgian Special Penitentiary Service on Wednesday rejected claims by the family and legal team of the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili that said he was “unable to move” due to the allegedly worsening health condition, and released footage from the clinic where the former official is receiving treatment to disprove the statement.
The Service also said the release of “fake videos” by “certain domestic media outlets” over the recent days to illustrate Saakashvili’s “severe condition” were aimed at “triggering public disturbance” and “causing harm to the country’s positive image”.
Its own release of the footage - showing the former President walking without someone's aid - was intended to “provide objective information” in contrast to the “false claims”, the state body noted, urging the public to refrain from sharing “incomplete and fragmented information” over the matter.
The latest developments come following the Tbilisi City Court ruling earlier this month that denied Saakashvili’s release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on health grounds.
The Court’s decision rejected claims of Saakashvili’s entourage on an alleged need for his “urgent treatment abroad due to multiple and serious health problems”. Georgian Government members have also been challenging the position by saying the former President has been engaged in “self-harm through disobeying doctors”, in a bid to facilitate his “illegal release” from detention.
Saakashvili, who has Ukrainian citizenship and held a public post in the country, was arrested on return to Georgia in October 2021 and is serving a six-year term for a case of abuse of power he had been convicted on. He has been undergoing treatment in the Vivamedi civilian clinic in Tbilisi since May 2022, with three other cases against him pending.