Former Georgian President Saakashvili Was Transferred to Prison Hospital | News

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Saakashvili, 53, was taken to the prison hospital five weeks after declaring a hunger strike in jail, authorities say.

Former jailed Georgia president Mikheil Saakashvili was transferred to a prison hospital, authorities said, just over five weeks after he declared a hunger strike.

Saakashvili, 53, was arrested on October 1 this year after returning to Georgia on the eve of local elections to mobilize the opposition, in what he described as a mission to save the country.

“In order to prevent the deterioration of Mikheil Saakashvili’s health condition and due to an increased risk to (his) safety, he was transferred from prison number 12 to medical facility number 18 for inmates,” said the prison department of Georgia in a statement Monday.

The announcement came as his supporters were preparing to demonstrate in Tbilisi to seek his hospitalization in a civil clinic, as advised by doctors, rather than in a prison hospital.

Earlier Monday, doctors who examined Saakashvili said he was “at high risk for systemic complications and urgently needs to be treated in a … high-tech clinic.”

Georgia ombudsman Nino Lomjaria said the prison hospital did not meet the doctors’ criteria.

Saakashvili was imprisoned in the city of Rustavi, south of the capital, Tbilisi.

He has refused to eat for 39 days to protest his imprisonment, which he says is politically motivated.

He faces six years in prison after being sentenced in absentia in 2018 for abusing his post during his tenure as president of the former Soviet republic from 2004 to 2013, charges he rejected on political grounds.

President Salome Zourabichvili said last week that Saakashvili had returned to destabilize Georgian politics and could never be forgiven.

But he said that given the strong public interest in his case, he should be recognized as a special prisoner and the authorities should take all possible measures “so that the deterioration of his health is not used for political speculation or destabilization.”

A lawyer for Saakashvili did not immediately comment on his transfer.

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