10 more Georgian politicians go on hunger strike, demand Saakashvili's transfer to civilian hospital
Georgian MPs go on hunger strike
10 opposition politicians, many of them MPs, went on a hunger strike on the evening of November 14, demanding that ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili be transferred to a multidisciplinary clinic.
They joined the deputy and the leader of the Droa ( The Time Has Come) political party Elene Khoshtaria, who has been on a hunger strike in parliament since November 3.
Nika Media, leader of the country’s largest opposition party United National Movement, has called for large-scale protests across the country from November 15, including blocking of the roads.
Saakashvili’s health is rapidly deteriorating, doctors warn, due to a hunger strike that he has been on for 45 days, first in prison, and now in a prison hospital, where he was taken against his will.
According to doctors, Saakashvili can no longer walk. A few days ago, he announced that he would end the hunger strike if he was taken to a multidisciplinary clinic. However, the government refuses to comply with this requirement.
A hunger strike was announced by:
- Akaki Minashvili;
- David Kirkitadze;
- Levan Bezhashvili;
- Temur Janashia;
- Bachuki Kardava;
- Nika Machutadze;
- Abdulla Ismailov;
- Sulkhan Sibashvili;
- Giorgi Godabrelidze;
- Giorgi Baramidze.
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Earlier, the former president’s American lawyer John Sandvig commented on video footage published by the Georgian Penitentiary Service, where Saakashvili is shown resisting transfer to a prison hospital, and several people drag him across the floor by force:
“This is not an institution where he will be safe. At least under international law, the state is obliged to take care of the detainee”.
Sandvig also said that the charges against Saakashvili “are not considered criminal offenses either in the United States or in the practice of international law”.
On November 10, the Strasbourg court ruled on the need for “temporary measures” in connection with the “danger of causing irreparable damage to Saakashvili’s life and health” and because of a possible threat to his safety in the prison hospital.
On November 11, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili rejected a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to have Saakashvili examined by Ukrainian doctors. This request is due to the fact that Mikhail Saakashvili is a citizen of Ukraine.
On November 12, 20 Georgian non-governmental organizations signed an appeal to the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture with a request to visit the Georgian penitentiary system and monitor the legal status of the ex-president.
On the same day, the Georgian government did not allow the Polish MEP Anna Fotige to visit Saakashvili in prisons well as two members of the Lithuanian parliament, who had arrived in Georgia especially for this.
Mikhail Saakashvili secretly returned to his homeland on October 1, 2021, after eight years of absence, was arrested and sent to prison, where he immediately went on a hunger strike. Several criminal cases have been initiated against the third president of Georgia, he has already been convicted in two of them and sentenced to six years in prison.
Lawyers have long been demanding that he be transferred to one of the civilian hospitals. But on November 8, Saakashvili was secretly and virtually forcibly transferred from a prison in the city of Rustavi to a hospital prison on the outskirts of Tbilisi, in the Gldani region.
Saakashvili himself, his family, doctors, as well as the Public Defender’s office strongly protest against this decision, since there is no necessary medical equipment in this medical facility. In addition, the situation there is dangerous for Saakashvili, who has many enemies in the criminal world.
Since November 8, the opposition has been conducting large-scale indefinite protests with two demands: the release of Mikhail Saakashvili and the announcement of early parliamentary elections.