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Saakashvili’s lawyers intend to seize the ECHR

Lawyers for former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili intend to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, but they will first appeal against the decision of the Tbilisi City Court to refuse to defer Saakashvili’s sentence for health reasons in the Georgia Court of Appeals.

According to the lawyers, they do not believe in Georgian justice, but this step is necessary for the ECtHR to accept the examination of the case.

“I have now been sentenced to death and will remain in prison with all fatal diseases, by a court ruling that no one in the world except Russia recognizes,” Mikheil Saakashvili wrote on Facebook shortly after. announcement of the verdict.

Later, on February 7, Saakashvili urged his supporters to become more active, stressing that “the struggle continues” and that in the end “all good forces, together with Ukraine, will defeat evil”.

Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party has announced a boycott of parliament to protest the court’s decision and the transition to an emergency mode of operation. On February 6, the party leadership held a rally against the court’s decision and announced its intention to hold another rally on February 7 near the government building in Tbilisi.

Georgian Dream said UNM “doesn’t have the luck or the resources” to protest. Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the ruling party, said the announced actions would share the fate of previous ones, which, in his own words, “ended in failure”. At the same time, Kobakhidze warned Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who has the power to pardon convicts, that if she pardons Saakashvili, “the public will have an overwhelmingly negative reaction.”

According to the results of another study conducted in Georgia from December 3 to December 20, 2022 by an American non-governmental organization – the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the UNM rating fell and rose to 6%. However, Saakashvili’s party remains the opposition force with the most support, as the others, according to the poll, did not get more than 2%, while the vast majority of poll participants (39%) declared to have no affiliation with any of the parties. . Meanwhile, 25% of NDI respondents said they considered the ruling Georgian Dream party to be the party closest in terms of opinions.

Many Western politicians lamented the court’s decision to keep Saakashvili in jail. A State Department spokesperson told Georgian media that “the United States is following Saakashvili’s case very closely” and that it is the responsibility of Georgian authorities to ensure that his rights are protected, in particular by providing him with medical and psychological assistance.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on February 7 expressing its disappointment with the decision of the Georgian court. Ukraine’s foreign ministry called on Tbilisi to “stop settling political scores with a Ukrainian citizen” and transfer the ex-president to Kiev to respect his right to treatment.

Previously, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Georgian authorities tortured Saakashvili daily in order to kill him.

Nika Chitadze, head of the Center for the Study of Security and International Relations, believes that the demonstrations, in general, “play their role”, although he doubts that in this case the demonstrations can exert “decisive pressure” on the Georgian authorities.

The expert notes the current low rating of the UNM, which he says is caused by a number of factors, including a “public confrontation” between party representatives, as well as the inability of its leaders to resist the propaganda of the Georgian Dream on the question that the UNM would like to open a “second front” in Georgia parallel to the Ukrainian one.

“UND” has failed to carry out an information campaign and to dispel the authorities’ accusations that they are a “war party”, so it is probably risky to speak of permanent actions, given that now people are more critical of them, – says Chitadze .

The expert doubts that the Georgian president will forgive Mikheil Saakashvili.

Chitadze believes that in addition to “personal hostility” to Saakashvili, who in his time removed Salome Zurabishvili from the post of head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, after which she entered the opposition, the president, most likely , “does not dare” to take a wrong step for the former Georgian prime minister and the founder of the ruling party, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, whom opponents consider the unofficial leader of the country.

Chitadze believes Saakashvili’s early release with the greatest success can be achieved following an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Recall that a motion to suspend Saakashvili’s sentence due to the deterioration of his state of health was filed in court on December 1, 2022. During this time, 15 meetings were held, during which doctors were interviewed, including foreign doctors, who recommended taking the ex-president abroad for treatment. Some Georgian doctors disagree with this recommendation, but others support it.

According to the conclusion of an independent review, Saakashvili was diagnosed with about 20 different diagnoses related to psycho-neurological, gastroenterological, disorders of the musculoskeletal system and vision. He was also diagnosed with fever of unknown etiology, anorexia, pain in muscles, joints, bones and atrophy.

In a toxicological study of a hair sample from Saakashvili, conducted in a laboratory in the United States, mercury and other heavy metals, including barium and thallium, were found to be in excess of the norm. This allowed the defense to assert that the former Georgian president had been poisoned.

During the year spent in prison, Mikheil Saakashvili went on two hunger strikes. Since the day of his arrest, he has lost 48 kilograms (for a height of 195 cm, he weighs 68 kg).


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