Saakashvili not allowed to participate in trial online; rescheduled for December 22
Saakashvili not allowed to participate trial online
The third president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was not given the opportunity to attend his trial remotely, because the Vivamed clinic where he is currently undergoing treatment does not have the appropriate means to connect him to the virtual meeting. The clinic confirmed that they also consider it impossible to physically transport Saakashvili to the courtroom.
The next hearing regarding Saakashvili’s release or suspension of sentence for health reasons is scheduled for 11:00 on December 22. Saakashvili’s lawyers asked that the court session be held within four to five days. The penitentiary service petitioned for a period of one month, which they claim is needed to study case material. The judge doubted that such a long time was needed for this, and maintains the case should be concluded more quickly.
The judge granted the defense’s request for a record of all of Saakashvili’s movements since his arrest. The court ordered the penitentiary service to submit videos made at Rustavi and Gldani prisons, the Gori hospital and the Vivamed clinic, to lawyers for review.
“The defense was given video from October 1, 2021 to December 14 this year, to which access will be provided,” the judge said.
“That Vivamed clinic does not have the technical capacity for Saakashvili to participate online, in the 21st century, is nonsense,” Koba Nakopia, a member of the National Movement party, stated. In his opinion, the authorities do not want people to see how bad Saakashvili’s health really is.
Saakashvili’s lawyer Shalva Khachapuridze calls what is happening a “shame”:
“This is a shame, a shame for the Ministry of Justice. It turns out that they could not connect the prisoner online when he is just two kilometers away. In other words, they are now trying to cover their tracks and kill Saakashvili.”
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On December 12 a press conference was held in Strasbourg concerning Mr Saakashvili’s dire health. Saakashvili’s son Eduard said at the conference: “We must not let my father die in prison.”
Saakashvili’s mother Giuli Alasania, his wife Sandra Rulofs, son Eduard Saakashvili, European parliamentarians Anna Fotyga and Miriam Lexmann, and Saakashvili’s lawyer Massimo D’angelo took part in the press conference. In their speech, they once again called on the ruling Georgian Dream party to release Saakashvili from prison.
On December 6, a council created by the Public Defender of Georgia prepared a report on Saakashvili’s health. Four doctors visited the ex-president on December 5.
According to cardiologist Giorgi Kacharava, Saakashvili should change the place of treatment. Neurologist Tengiz Tsuladze said that Saakashvili’s health had “significantly” worsened compared to April.
Also according to doctors, he has cachexia [extreme malnutrition] of the fourth degree, which means that he may have only months to live.
On December 2, a US toxicological examination signed by Professor David Smith was published. It says that the presence of heavy metals and other substances, including mercury and arsenic, was found in Mikhail Saakashvili’s body. The specialist associates Saakashvili’s symptoms with ingestion of these substances.
On December 1, the Empathy Center published a medical report on the health of Mikheil Saakashvili, according to which the ex-president has more than twenty disorders, about ten of which are incompatible with imprisonment.
Empathy has not disclosed these disorders but stress that his condition is severe. His diagnoses, either individually or collectively, can lead to irreversible deterioration in health, reduced life expectancy, and even death if he is not given the opportunity to receive adequate diagnosis and treatment.