Home World Georgian ex-president Saakashvili’s health deteriorating, allies say

Georgian ex-president Saakashvili’s health deteriorating, allies say

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An ally of imprisoned former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday that officials said his condition was “life-threatening” and doctors said he needed urgent medical attention. said he refused to move him to the intensive care unit.

Saakashvili, who led the former Soviet Union as a pro-Western reformist from 2004 to 2013, is serving a six-year sentence for abuse of power. He and his supporters claim he was politically motivated.

His medical team says his health has deteriorated significantly since he went to prison in October 2021 and went on multiple hunger strikes.

Saakashvili appears on screen via video link during a court hearing in Tbilisi, Georgia on December 22, 2022. (Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters)

Saakashvili is being treated at a clinic in Tbilisi, but lawyers are asking for a stay of his sentence so he can be transferred out of the country.

Saakashvili, 55, was scheduled to be transferred to intensive care on Tuesday, family spokesperson and political ally Giorgi Chaladze told Reuters — but the transfer was blocked at the last minute. rice field.

Chaladze was previously reported to have told reporters on Georgian television that Saakashvili had already been transferred to the ICU.

“He has a life-threatening condition and requires intensive life support. His immune system is not working. A blood test done yesterday showed zero immunity. “Even someone who sneezes near him could make him sick,” Chaladze said by phone. interview.

“Show Mercy”: From Zelensky to Georgia

When visiting Saakashvili on Tuesday, Chaladze said he was told by medical staff that they were preparing a space for him in the ICU – a room 30 meters from where he is currently being held.

Zurab Chkhaidze, head of the Vivamedi clinic where Saakashvili is being treated, said his “vital signs” were stable and tests for COVID-19 were negative, saying the former leader was in critical condition. denied being in a state.

The European Union called reports of Saakashvili’s health “concerning” and called on governments to provide medical care.

A rally outside a building shows people in winter clothes holding posters.
Saakashvili’s supporters gathered outside a court in Tbilisi on January 9 for a hearing to consider a request from Saakashvili’s lawyers to allow him to travel abroad for treatment. (Vano Shulamov/AFP/Getty Images)

But critics, including those of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, say he abused his power and lost popular support. was sent to prison after returning to Georgia from

Zelensky drew attention to his plight last month by calling on Georgian authorities to “show mercy”.

“What is happening to Mikhail is cruel,” said the Ukrainian leader. “It’s not going to be Georgia. It has to stop.”

Georgia’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement, filed a lawsuit last month seeking the release of the imprisoned former president for medical examinations abroad over concerns that he was suffering from addiction.

Saakashvili is suffering from weight loss, musculoskeletal pain and muscle wasting, “which may be due to an undiagnosed infectious process or possible poisoning,” UNM said in a statement.

Toxicology tests showed elevated levels of barium, bismuth and mercury, the party said. The statement said the conclusions were based on research by Georgian and foreign experts conducted through the Georgian anti-torture NGO Empathy Center.

The US State Department called on Georgia to treat Saakashvili “with fairness and dignity” shortly after his arrest.

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