Jailed ex-Georgia president taken to military hospital, to end hunger strike

Tbilisi, Nov 20 (EFE).- Georgia’s jailed ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili was transferred to a military hospital near the capital early on Saturday, where he has promised to end his hunger strike that began after his arrest on Oct.1, his lawyer said.

Nikoloz Gavaramia said the former president, who ruled the country from 2004 to 2013, was admitted on Friday night to the military health facility in the city of Gori, some 80 km west of the capital.

The controversial politician collapsed Wednesday after his condition worsened during a meeting with one of his lawyers at the prison hospital in Gladni, in Tbilisi, after 50 days on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.

The lawyer urged the doctors to develop daily protocol after Saakashvili, 53, ended the hunger strike.

Georgia’s Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said Friday that “after treatment in Gori, the former president will be shifted back to Rustavi prison.”

Saakashvili left the country days before the expiration of his office term in 2013, prompting the authorities to initiate criminal cases against him.

He returned illegally to Georgia in late September after eight years in exile.

He remained on the run from Georgian justice after a court sentenced him in 2018 in absentia to three and six years in prison for corruption and abuse of power.

He faces other charges that entail up to 11 years in prison.

On Oct.20, the authorities charged him with illegal border crossing that may entail imprisonment of up to five years.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has refused to pardon the politician in a case that has grabbed international headlines and earned Saakashvili the support of the United States.

Saakashvili was stripped of Georgian citizenship in 2015 when he was the governor of the Ukrainian region of Odesa on the Black Sea.

Then-Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko granted him Ukrainian nationality.

In 2017, Poroshenko issued a decree to cancel Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship.

Incumbent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky restored Saakashvili’s passport in 2019. EFE


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