Washington asks Tbilisi to protect the health of the imprisoned former Georgian president

  • 10-11-2021, 09:31
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    Washington: On Tuesday, Washington called on Tbilisi to protect the health of former Georgian president and opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been on hunger strike for weeks, a day after he was transferred to a prison hospital and confirmed that he had been beaten by his jailers and feared for his life.
    “We urge the government of Georgia to take immediate steps to ensure that Saakashvili’s mental health and medical needs are secured,” US diplomatic spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
    “We will continue to urge the Georgian government to treat Saakashvili properly and with dignity, in accordance with international standards and Georgian law,” he added.
    The American spokesperson stressed that Tbilisi is obligated to “protect the detainees from any mistreatment, including psychological mistreatment, and provide them with appropriate care.”
    This American demand came the day after Saakashvili announced, after he was transferred to the prison hospital, that he had been beaten by his jailers and feared for his life.
    The former president said in a letter to his lawyer, “They insulted me, beat me on the neck, and pulled me to the ground by my hair,” stressing that the “purpose” of his transfer to the prison hospital was to “kill me.”
    On Monday, the Prison Administration announced that it had transferred the former president, who has been on hunger strike for 39 days, to the prison hospital “in order to avoid the deterioration of his health and because of the increased risks to his safety.”
    Pro-Western Saakashvili was president of this Caucasian country from 2004 to 2013 and is now the leader of the opposition. He was imprisoned in early October upon his return from exile before the first round of elections.
    The former president began a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment after the judiciary convicted him of “abuse of power”, a charge he asserts were politically motivated.
    And Saakashvili’s imprisonment exacerbated the political crisis that began with the legislative elections that took place last year and were won by a narrow margin by the ruling “Georgian Dream” party, which the opposition considered fraudulent.
    For weeks, his supporters have been demanding his release, or at least his admission to a civilian hospital.
    On Monday, tens of thousands of Saakashvili’s supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, after the prison administration announced his transfer to hospital.