"It's obvious Saakashvili is being tortured and Putin is behind it" - author of the "Magnitsky law"
Bill Browder on Saakashvili
British financier and author of the “Magnitsky Act” Bill Browder has said that former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is being tortured in an interview with Pirveli TV. He maintains that if Saakashvili dies in custody, sanctions against several people will be inevitable.
Sergei Magnitsky, 37, was a Ukrainian-born Russian tax consultant and lawyer who exposed the corruption of the Russian government. Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 for exposing the largest financial fraud in Russian history and was killed in prison eleven months later.
The Magnitsky Act was passed by the US Congress in 2012, and its purpose was to hold those responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison responsible.
Based on an updated version of 2016, under the Magnitsky Act the US government can impose sanctions on members of foreign governments around the world for human rights violations, such as by freezing their assets and banning them from entering the United States.
“This will give Georgian politicians a big headache. I hope the people who are now making decisions will end such actions, because if Saakashvili dies, they will have a hard life. It is obvious that Mikheil Saakashvili is being tortured. You can see it in pictures and you don’t have to be a medical expert to understand it,” Browder said.
According to Browder, who is responsible is an interesting question, since the prosecutor’s office is blocking Saakashvili’s request for treatment. As Browder points out, prison doctors are “probably involved” in malpractice and government officials are giving the orders.
“The more information there is, the more likely we will create a temporary, as we call it, Saakashvili’s list’, which will include people who are involved in this. This is a humanitarian issue, and each day we see the Georgian government digging in their heels. Georgia is destroying its reputation at the international level,” Browder maintained.
Browder believes that Vladimir Putin is behind all this, who wants revenge on Saakashvili for opposing him in 2008.
“He has a personal vendetta against Mikhail Saakashvili. There are people in the Georgian government who love Putin, and it’s now clear that things are not going the way they should. In my opinion, Vladimir Putin is behind all this. He is trying to take revenge on Saakashvili, who treated him disrespectfully. This is also a message to Volodymyr Zelensky that “this is what will happen to you in the future”, so we must not allow this to happen,” Browder said.
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Bill Browder, the author of the Magnitsky Act, tweeted on December 24 that former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is a political prisoner who is “dying before our very eyes.” In his view, if Saakashvili is not sent to Europe for treatment, it “can only be called murder.”
After that, Saakashvili addressed an open letter to Browder and asked him to help draw up a new “Magnitsky list”.
Browder responded to Saakashvili’s letter and asked the ex-president to have his team prepare documents on who is obstructing treatment and who might be responsible for his alleged poisoning. Browder also promised Saakashvili that he would do everything to make Western governments pay attention to Magnitsky sanctions.
- Mikhail Podolyak: Send Saakashvili to us for treatment
- Michael McFaul: “Now is the time for a worldwide campaign for the release of Saakashvili”