22 Apr 2022 17:24

Georgian Penitentiary Service denies reports of Saakashvili's worsening health

TBILISI. April 22 (Interfax) - The Special Penitentiary Service of the Georgian Justice Ministry has denied information spread by the opposition about a drastic deterioration of the health of currently jailed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

"We report that Mikheil Saakashvili has been under round-the-clock intensive medical monitoring since he was placed in the penitentiary. All necessary medical services are provided to him. He was prescribed and received relevant treatment," the Special Penitentiary Service said in a statement released on Friday.

Saakashvili has been selectively refusing a number of tests, including an MRI scan of his brain, treatment prescribed by a neurologist, psychotherapy, and recommended physical activities, the statement said. Saakashvili also refuses to go outside for a daily hour-long walk.

"Accusations published by some media outlets that Saakashvili could be poisoned and his life is in danger are an attempt to discredit the Penitentiary Service, which takes all possible measures to ensure that he is safe and create proper conditions," it said.

Saakashvili said at a court hearing on April 20 that his health has drastically deteriorated in the past few days. He said he had lost the use of his legs in his jail cell and his condition had somewhat stabilized after several injections. He said he lost 12 kilograms. He demanded that qualified medics be allowed to examine him.

The ex-president's supporters demand his immediate transfer to a clinic abroad for treatment.

Saakashvili secretly arrived in Georgia on September 29, 2021. He was detained in Tbilisi on October 1 and put in jail in the city of Rustavi soon afterwards, where he went on a hunger strike. On November 8, he was transferred to the prison hospital in Tbilisi's Gldani district without the consent of his lawyers or family. On November 20, Saakashvili was transferred to a military hospital in Gori, where he ended his hunger strike.

Saakashvili is a defendant in several criminal cases in Georgia. He says that his detention is illegal and the cases against him have been fabricated.