Georgian President's special briefing, Saakashvili, Justice Council and pandemic on agenda
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili reiterated that she will not pardon the imprisoned former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.
She announced this at a special briefing late in the evening on November 3. The President also touched on the fight against the pandemic and said that vaccination should become mandatory for risk groups, as well as the introduction of Covid passports. She also encouraged the church to participate in the vaccination process. Regarding the past municipal elections, the President stressed that the elections in Georgia were held freely and without violations.
On possible pardoning of Saakashvili
At the briefing, the President of Georgia said:
“My position on pardoning the former president is firm and unchanged. No and never. The former president does not meet the criteria of a political prisoner or innocence. This is a convict who entered the country voluntarily and illegally, whose entry was intended to destabilize the situation.
Nevertheless, due to the high public and political interest, he should be considered a special prisoner, and this requires special attention from the administration of the penitentiary institution and the government, taking all measures to prevent the use of his deteriorating health for political speculation or destabilization. This is the case. I will not return to this question”.
Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested on October 1 in Tbilisi after he secretly returned to his homeland.
Several criminal cases have been launched against the former president of Georgia. He was found guilty in two of them, the investigation is underway on two more.
The ex-president, in the status of a wanted person, was transferred to prison No. 12 of Rustavi immediately after his arrest. On the same evening, he went on a hunger strike. Lawyers are demanding that the starving president, whose health is deteriorating, be taken to a civilian clinic. The department for the execution of punishments says that if necessary, the ex-president will be taken to a prison hospital.
According to the Public Defender of Georgia, the prison hospital lacks the necessary equipment for treatment, or safe conditions for the former president, who has many enemies among the criminal world.
Saakashvili does not agree to be transferred to a prison hospital. Until now, he categorically refused to end the hunger strike.
On compulsory vaccination
The President called on the authorities to take tough and urgent measures amid the worsening epidemiological situation. She also separately noted the responsibility of the Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church of Georgia, which allows individual priests to conduct propaganda against vaccination.
“I urge the authorities to take urgent and strict measures – compulsory vaccination for risk groups, introduce Covid passports for access to public places and even paid treatment for unvaccinated people”.
According to her, part of the responsibility lies with some representatives of the medical field, whose views harm the common cause. It is also the responsibility of those citizens who, due to personal fears and their own health, expose the country to a demographic catastrophe.
In addition, Zurabishvili stated that the responsibility lies with the public, as well as with the parties holding numerous rallies.
According to the head of the National Center for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze, up to 17,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against coronavirus have expired and should be written off.
According to the national plan, the goal was to vaccinate 60% of the population by the end of the year. Recently, however, the vaccination rate in Georgia has dropped significantly.
At the end of August more than 20,000 people were vaccinated per day, then recently an average of 3,000 thousand of vaccine were made per day.
As of November 3, 1,986,729 vaccinations had been carried out. 1,040,022 people were vaccinated with at least 1 dose – 36.6% of the adult population; Fully vaccinated 944 520 people – 33.1% of the adult population. In total, 3868 people were evacuated over the past day and day.
On municipal elections
“The elections are over, but in fact no one should consider themselves a winner, because neither the country, nor the society are winners, the country needs peace and stability to return to the path of development”, Salome Zurabishvili said.
On the appointment of members to High Council of Justice
The president also spoke about the appointment of two members of the High Council of Justice, which drew criticism from the ambassadors of the European Union and the United States, who found the appointment procedure opaque. Salome, Zurabishvili called this appointment an incomprehensible step in its form and time.
“Knowing the symbolic place the High Council of Justice occupies in the continuation of judicial reform and how much attention is paid to its composition or its impartiality, I am ready to meet with everyone who agrees with all three of the above priorities and use the President’s platform as needed”, the President said.
On October 31, the Council of Justice elected two new members of the High Council of Justice: Paata Silagadze and Giorgi Goginashvili.
Silagadze and Goginashvili are considered members of the so-called clan of judges, and both are appointed life judges of the Tbilisi Court of Appeal.
In this regard, the US Ambassador to Georgia and the EU Delegation stated that they were disappointed with such appointments.