Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed an open letter to the Joe Biden administration, in which he called on to condemn the Georgian authorities and put pressure on Tbilisi to stop Georgia’s retreat from democracy. Saakashvili’s letter published by in the publication Politico.
According to the politician, the ruling Georgian Dream party “consolidated control over the judicial system and many state and non-state media, allowed corruption to skyrocket, manipulated elections and pushed the country towards rapprochement with Putin’s Russia.” “The government has de facto suspended any practical efforts to move towards NATO membership, which the Georgian people have repeatedly expressed their approval of. Instead, Georgia is flirting with a platform of “regional cooperation” with Iran and Russia, inspired by the idea of eradicating Western influence in the strategically important region of the South Caucasus, “Saakashvili writes.
Since October of this year, the former president has been in custody in Georgia and the day before he ended his hunger strike, which he had been holding in prison for 50 days.
Saakashvili’s personal doctor Nikoloz Kipshidze and lawyer Nika Gvarmia confirmed the information that the ex-president had ended the hunger strike. This happened after, on the night of November 20, Saakashvili was taken to a military hospital in the city of Gori and placed in an intensive care unit.
In the morning, the hospital was taken under heavy guard. The internal perimeter of the medical facility is controlled by the military police units of the Ministry of Defense. Police squads are deployed along the outer perimeter of the hospital, Georgia Online reports.
In early October, it became known that Mikhail Saakashvili had secretly returned to Georgia shortly before the municipal elections. This is his first visit to the country in eight years. On the evening of October 1, he was arrested in Tbilisi and sent to a prison in Rustavi. A criminal case was initiated against him on illegal border crossing.
Immediately after the arrest, Saakashvili went on a hunger strike. On October 10, the opposition leader’s doctor reported that his health had deteriorated. Due to the worsening condition on October 22, the ex-president needed a blood transfusion.
Saakashvili announced that he would end the hunger strike on condition that he was transferred to a multidisciplinary clinic. On November 8, it became known that Saakashvili was transferred to the Gldani prison hospital without the consent of his relatives and lawyers. A few days earlier, it was reported that he had blackouts in his memory, he was losing logical connection and could not write a letter.
In a conversation with the human rights representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Lyudmila Denisova, the ex-president of Georgia expressed fears that he could be killed if transferred to a prison hospital. “They will kill me there. I am afraid for my safety, ”Saakashvili said. Saakashvili’s lawyer Nika Gvaramia also said that the authorities are hatching a plan to assassinate the opposition leader in the prison hospital.
On November 14, Saakashvili’s personal doctor Nikoloz Kipshidze reported that the ex-president’s condition was deteriorating. And on November 18, Saakashvili fainted at a meeting with lawyers. He stumbled and fell when leaving the room, after which he did not open his eyes and did not react to anything. The ex-president was carried away on a stretcher and put in the intensive care unit of the prison hospital, where his condition was stabilized.
In Georgia, five criminal cases have been opened against Saakashvili, including abuse of authority and embezzlement. In two of them, he was previously found guilty in absentia. The ex-president called the sentences against himself fabricated, in particular, by order of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Georgian prosecutor’s office noted that Saakashvili faces at least six years in prison.