"Saakashvili will not be released on pardon" - President of Georgia
Zurabishvili on Saakashvili
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili issued a statement regarding the decision of Tbilisi City Court not to release Mikheil Saakashvili from prison on health grounds.
With this decision of the court, the Georgian people were “sentenced to walk in a vicious circle and remain a hostage to the current situation,” Zurabishvili believes.
As Zurabishvili notes, given statements from the ex-president and his crimes, “it is expected that if Saakashvili is released he will become an active opponent” not only of the current government, but also of “the reputation of the country and, consequently, its chances for a European future”.
In the statement, the president also says that the world’s trust in Georgia is now shaken, and blames both the ruling party and the opposition for this:
“Such discredit is the result of the joint efforts of the ruling party and the opposition. On the one hand, the government’s rhetoric, stubborn decisions and incomprehensible deference towards Russia, contrasts with a strict attitude towards Ukrainians, our partners and often offensive criticism.
On the other hand, messages damaging the country’s reputation by some members of the Saakashvili family, which have recently turned into a well-planned and executed campaign.”
According to Zurabishvili, the situation with Saakashvili “hinders the proper development of our relations with partners.” This also hinders, Zurabishvili believes, “our expression of solidarity with the Ukrainian people during this most difficult test, which goes against the Georgian tradition and hinders our recognized European perspective, prevents us from working on fulfilling the twelve recommendations and thus from obtaining the status of EU candidate.”
“Today the whole country has become a hostage to this single issue, while the most important topics are not even discussed, including the mass exodus of young people from Georgia and the mass migration of Russian citizens to Georgia,” the President of Georgia writes.
Zurabishvili also notes that the country’s reputation has been damaged, its credibility has been shaken, and Georgia’s place in the new geopolitical situation has become uncertain, which in itself could be dangerous “if Russia thinks we’ve lost the support of our traditional partners.”
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According to the President of Georgia, the responsibility for all this lies with those who encouraged him to come back as much as those who won’t let him go.
“In order to regain face and restore confidence, one more effort is needed, one more realization: a humanitarian solution by the government must be found for the sake of the country. And from the opposition that Saakashvili confess his crimes once and for all and free the country and the opposition from a hostage state by leaving politics.
Everyone should stop speculating and playing with the future of this country, take responsibility and stop spoiling our reputation.
This issue must be removed from the Georgian political space and the country should be allowed to breathe, live, develop and receive the status of EU candidate.”
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According to family members and lawyers, Mikheil Saakashvili has begun a rapid process of cachexia. The conclusion of the Ombudsman’s Council on his health also cites cachexia of the fourth degree and notes that he should be transferred to a multidisciplinary clinic abroad.
On December 29, 2022, American toxicologist David Smith was interrogated as a witness at Saakashvili’s trial. According to Smith, Saakashvili was poisoned with heavy metals in prison before being transferred to the Vivamed clinic.
The American toxicologist said that he had familiarized himself with Saakashvili’s medical record, the results of laboratory tests, as well as analysis of samples of hair, nails and blood.