“Saakashvili is dying in prison, and this will affect the future of Georgia” - Debate in the European Parliament
European Parliament on Saakashvili
At a plenary session of the European Parliament, Deputy Ana Fotiga demanded an immediate debate on health of Mikheil Saakashvili, which was approved.
Saakashvili took part in yesterday’s trial remotely. He addressed the court in Georgian and Ukrainian and said that the only thing he was asking for was “providing adequate means of treatment.”
During his speech, the ex-president talked about his health and pulled up his shirt to show his physical condition. He called it “an unethical picture” and apologized. Saakashvili has lost a lot of weight, as evidenced by protruding ribs and belly. During the speech, he spoke slowly, intermittently, and breathed deeply during pauses.
“I am confident in the victory of Ukraine, but if I do not live to see victory, which is close, my heart should be buried in Kyiv, it belongs to Ukraine,” Saakashvili said.
Statements by the US Ambassador, Presidents of Ukraine and Moldova
On February 2, a statement by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan about Saakashvili was published. According to her, this is a very serious situation, “what we saw yesterday.”
“Both the US government and other governments are closely following this process, and this is a matter of concern. The government is responsible for ensuring that Mikheil Saakashvili receives the treatment he needs, and this is what we are all focused on, in order to first know his exact diagnosis, what he needs, and for the government to provide him with the necessary assistance, and of course we will continue to monitor this issue,” Degnan said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that the Georgian government is slowly killing Mikheil Saakashvili. He later released another statement calling on the world to prevent his execution.
“Given the threat to his life, I urge the Georgian authorities to remember their obligations in terms of protecting human rights according to European standards, stop the violence and release Mikhail! Ukraine offered solutions. I call on the world to help save Mikhail’s life and prevent his execution,” Zelensky said.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu also reacted to Saakashvili’s situation. According to her, the death of an opposition leader under torture is unacceptable for a country hoping to join the European Union.
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Debate in the European Parliament
MEP Marketa Gregorova: “This is a deeply politicized case, a permanson dies in prison. I ask the government of Georgia to think not only about the political points that can be gained by leaving him in prison, but also about the points that can be lost, because today we should talk about a political prisoner, and not about the status of a candidate.”
European Commissioner Johannes Hahn: “We had a meeting with the EU Ambassador and the Minister of Justice. In the previous case, we also reiterated that the Georgian government is obliged to take all measures to protect the health of Mr. Saakashvili. They have a legal obligation to ensure that all prisoners have access to health care and that their fundamental rights are protected. […] The EU’s position is clear: the Georgian government has an obligation to act if Mr. Saakashvili’s health is in critical condition.”
Anna Fotiga, MEP: “Like any other person, Saakashvili had the right to return to his homeland, so he returned … He is treated differently from any other person in Georgia. I call on the Georgian government to release him so that he can receive medical care abroad. If he dies in prison, this will greatly affect the future of Georgia.”
MEP Petras Austrevičius: “Mikhail Saakashvili, the former president who changed Georgia, has been imprisoned for 16 months. I demand that Mikheil Saakashvili be allowed to travel abroad for medical assistance. The chances that the country will lose its European face are very high.”
Miriam Leksmani, MEP: “This shameful behavior of the Georgian government is directly related to the European future of the country. I once again ask the Georgian government to allow him to receive medical care abroad.”