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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Ukraine urged to protect Saakashvili from repression by Georgian authorities


International politicians, public figures and journalists have called on Georgian authorities to provide Georgia’s third president, Mikheil Saakashvili, with adequate treatment.

Reaction from the global community followed after footage of convict Mikheil Saakashvili, who had lost 48 kilograms in prison, was released on February 1.

The images with Saakashvili particularly caused a reaction in Ukraine, of which he is a citizen. In particular, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyyy accused the Georgian authorities of “torturing” Saakashvili on a daily basis in order to “kill” him, and Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian President’s office, said on February 1 that the ex-President of Georgia needs treatment and must be sent back to Ukraine.

On February 2, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it expressed “a strong protest against the inhumane treatment of Ukrainian citizen Mikheil Saakashvili”. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claims that the Georgian authorities act “in the worst traditions of the NKVD of the USSR” when they use “psychological and physical violence against Saakashvili, deny him the medical treatment he urgently needs, deliberately creating an immediate threat to his life”. ”

“Don’t gamble with a person’s life for political revenge. We also call on foreign governments and international organizations to publicly come to the defense of a Ukrainian citizen, the former President of Georgia, whose life was threatened due to political repression by the Georgian authorities,” the Ukrainian ministry said. Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu noted that for a country seeking to join the EU, it is unacceptable to “torture to death” the leader of the opposition.

“Mikhail Saakashvili must be released immediately and sent abroad for treatment,” Sandu tweeted.

The question of the state of health of the third Georgian president, who is in police custody, was examined on February 2 during a meeting of the European Parliament. MEPs called on the Georgian authorities to guarantee Mikheil Saakashvili the necessary treatment. Meanwhile, Polish MEP Anna Fotiga warned that if the ex-president does not survive prison conditions, it will directly affect Georgia’s European prospects.

US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan again commented on the situation. It is the government’s responsibility to provide necessary medical care to Mr. Saakashvili… We will continue to follow Saakashvili’s case very closely,” Degnan said.

After the publication of the medical opinion of independent experts on the state of health of the third Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili’s lawyer asked the court for his release and/or a stay of execution of his sentence. The court has not yet made a decision on this.

At the same time, the Georgian authorities refuse to admit that Saakashvili’s state of health is critical.

Recall that an independent medical examination revealed that Saakashvili suffered from rapidly progressive dementia, cachexia, anorexia, gastroenterological diseases and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. It should also be noted that during the toxicological examination of a hair sample from Saakashvili, mercury and other heavy metals, including barium and thallium, were found in excess of the norm.

Georgian Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said on February 1 that the ex-president was deliberately consuming low-calorie foods and self-harming in order to secure an early release. Bregadze called allegations that Mikheil Saakashvili was tortured in Georgia “baseless” and “insulting”.

Expert Gia Khukhashvili, who was previously an adviser to the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, believes that the decision on the early release of Mikheil Saakashvili directly depends on Ivanishvili, who, according to his opponents, continues to be the de facto sovereign of the country.

The expert believes that Ivanishvili, whom he describes as a “very suspicious” person, cannot decide what to do with Saakashvili, whom he has considered for years as his main opponent. In particular, once released, in addition to remaining in detention, Saakashvili, according to the expert, can cause Ivanishvili “a lot of trouble”.

“If Saakashvili, who was released on parole, is confirmed poisoned, this will lead to serious consequences for the Georgian authorities, while at the same time, if the worst-case scenario with the health of the ex-president develops in prison, the Georgian leadership will not be able to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the international community for a long time. So Ivanishvili, most likely, is in a state of passion and his decision is not predictable, we can only guess at it,” concluded the l former adviser to the billionaire politician.

Meanwhile, Russian human rights activist and blogger Mark Feigin announced the second round of actions in favor of Mikheil Saakashvili (#SaveMisha). The first global action took place on January 4 in approximately 48 cities around the world. Then people came out with posters supporting the ex-Georgian president on the buildings of the Georgian embassies. Now, Feigin has called on citizens sympathetic to Saakashvili to gather on February 20 in front of the departments that make decisions on sanctions, that is, in front of the parliament buildings of the countries in which they are located.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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