Zelenskyy urges Georgia to transfer Saakashvili for treatment abroad. What did Tbilisi say?
Zelenskky on Saakashvili
“I would now like to address all our friends and honest people in Georgia. Probably everyone now sees Saakashvili’s condition. Therefore I appeal to the Georgian people, to the Georgian government — mercy is needed, especially before Christmas.
What is happening to Mikheil is cruelty. This must stop.
Please make a decision that will save his life — transfer Mikheil Saakashvili to a climic in Ukraine, to another European country, to America. It’s time to take this step,” Zelenskyy said.
“Sending Saakashvili to Georgia was a special operation. Today the authors of the special operation even provided a statement from the President of Ukraine. This is a simple assessment,” Mamuka Mdinaradze, chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said regarding Zelenskyy’s statement.
Mdinaradze echoed the ruling party’s narrative about “Georgia being dragged into the war.” According to him, the purpose of Saakashvili’s visit to Georgia was to unleash a war.
“Yes, they [top officials of Ukraine] have this expectation, and the planners of the special operation also ensured that the President of Ukraine would react to this story. We have to consider it together. These things don’t happen by accident. It was a special operation to involve Georgia in the war and split Georgia. The special operation failed today as well, since we have no other choice, we consider all statements in this context,” Mdinaradze said.
- Video of Mikheil Saakashvili released by Georgian Penitentiary Service
- “These are words from the FSB” – reaction to the the Prime Minister of Georgia’s statement
- “We must not let our father die in prison” – Saakashvili’s son
Former President Mikheil Saakashvili has been in jail in Georgia for more than a year. He returned to Tbilisi at the end of September 2021 and was arrested on October 1.
In 2018 Saakashvili was convicted in two criminal cases — one, of pardoning those convicted of the murder of Sandro Girgvliani, and two, beating deputy Valery Gelashvili. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
Tthree more criminal cases were initiated against him — about the dispersal of the November 2007 rally, the confiscation of the Imedi television company, the so-called “jacket case” related to the theft of budget funds, and finally illegally crossing the state border. The last case was initiated by the Georgian prosecutor’s office in 2021. According to investigators, Saakashvili secretly traveled from Ukraine to the port of Poti on a ship, hiding in a truck with dairy products.
Saakashvili considers all cases initiated against him to be politically motivated, and immediately after his arrest in October 2021 he went on a hunger strike which lasted fifty days and which seriously undermined his health.
On May 12, 2022, Saakashvili was transferred to the Vivamed clinic due to deteriorating health. During his stay at this clinic his condition did not improve, but worsened. His friends and family say he is getting worse day by day.
Members of a consortium of doctors created under the auspices of the Public Defender note that during his stay at Vivamed, Saakashvili lost more than 40 kilograms, and this is still going on. He has a fever of unknown etymology, anorexia, cachexia, muscle, joint and bone pain, and muscle spasms, which may be due to unknown infectious process or poisoning.
On December 2, American professor and toxicologist David Smith published a report dated November 28, 2022, stating that Saakashvili had been poisoned with heavy metals. Smith’s report notes that traces of mercury and arsenic were found in his body. The report also states that such doses of these substances could not have entered the body as a result of drug treatment.
On December 1 the Empathy Center published an expert opinion on the health of Mikheil Saakashvili, stating that Saakashvili was “practically healthy” at the time of his arrest, but today he is in danger of death.
On December 14, the Special Penitentiary Service published video footage of Mikheil Saakashvili, which, according to them, reflects the “state of the prisoner Mikheil Saakashvili” at different times. Most of the video was made in October and shows Saakashvili lying in a ward and having several nervous attacks. By publishing the video, Georgian Dream is trying to convince the public that Saakashvili is faking his condition and that he has mental rather than physiological problems. The last frame is from December, where Saakashvili is thin and hardly moves on his own.