21 Dec 2023 18:08

Georgian opposition party demands Saakashvili be returned to prison

TBILISI. Dec 21 (Interfax) - The For Georgia opposition party, led by former Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, has urged the authorities to transfer former President Mikheil Saakashvili from the Vivamedi private clinic in Tbilisi back to prison.

The state of Saakashvili's health is quite normal, and the ex-president should continue serving his term in a penitentiary rather than in a comfortable clinic, MP Mikheil Daushvili, a For Georgia party leader, said at a press briefing on Thursday.

"Moreover, the authorities violate the constitution when they permit Saakashvili, who isn't a Georgian citizen, to engage in political activity in the country via direct involvement in court proceedings. Saakashvili is practically holding party meetings via video link from his ward in the clinic, giving instructions and making statements in Ukrainian," he said.

Meanwhile, other Georgian opposition parties have sharply criticized the For Georgia party's demand to return Saakashvili to prison, adding that it could exacerbate the political situation in the country.

Georgian Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said earlier on a number of occasions that Saakashvili would be transferred back to prison only after doctors' conclusion permitting that is received.

The Vivamedi clinic head doctor, for his part, told reporters on Thursday that the state of Saakashvili's health "requires further treatment for him in the clinic."

Saakashvili, who turned 56 on Thursday, said on social media that he is "going strong" and will continue his political struggle. Saakashvili received a birthday message former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Georgian media said.

Saakashvili secretly arrived in Georgia on September 29, 2021. He was detained in Tbilisi on October 1 and then put in jail in the city of Rustavi, where he went on a hunger strike. On November 8, Saakashvili was transferred to a prison hospital in Tbilisi's Gldani district without the consent of his relatives or lawyers. He was taken to a military hospital in the town of Gori on November 20. On May 12, 2022, Saakashvili was moved to the Vivamedi clinic, where he is currently staying.

Several criminal cases were opened against Saakashvili in Georgia. He called his detention unlawful and the charges brought against him falsified.