Russia’s Tass news agency reported on Friday, that Georgia’s justice ministry has decided to move imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili to a military hospital in the city of Gori.
Georgia’s human rights commissioner warned Saakashvili may soon face various health complications. A doctor who examined him said that he risked death if not transferred to a regular clinic.
This comes a day after Saakashvili fainted and was placed in an intensive care ward. He had previously launched a hunger strike after being imprisoned upon his return from exile in Ukraine.
Saakashvili was Georgia’s president between 2004 and 2013. After leaving Georgia in 2013, Saakashvili became the governor of Odessa under former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. His relationship with Poroshenko later soured and his Ukrainian citizenship was revoked.
Later, Saakashvili became an anti-corruption advisor under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Ahead of last month’s local elections in Georgia, the politician secretly returned to his native country and urged his supporters to take to the streets to “protect the vote results.” He was quickly detained and now faces up to six years in prison following his 2018 in absentia conviction for abuse of power.
US wants Saakashvili to be treated ‘fairly’
Saakashvili’s arrest has deepened the crisis that erupted after last year’s parliamentary elections, which the opposition denounced as fraudulent.
The politician’s lawyer Dito Sadzaglishvili said the country’s prison service was “guided by political motives, rather than medical considerations.”
“The government is denying Saakashvili his right to proper medical care,” he said.
A spokesman of the United States Department of State, Ned Price, urged Georgian authorities to “treat Mr. Saakashvili fairly and with dignity.”
Last month, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili prompted outrage by saying that Saakashvili “has the right to commit suicide.” Garibashvili also said the authorities were doing everything they could to ensure proper treatment.