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Ex-Interior Minister Checked Additionally to Dispel Rumors on His Poisoning

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 3
Former Georgian PM and Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili was taken to hospital for blood checks on Tuesday by the staff of the Ministry of Corrections to dispel the speculations of his lawyers that Merabishvili was poisoned in prison.

Merabishvili was transported and left in Mediclub hospital for two days for necessary blood checks.

His lawyers also appeared at the scene and stated that the current Georgian leadership is hiding the “real picture” of Merabishvili’s health, which is “very complicated.”

In addition to their version of intoxication, lawyers say that Merabishvili could have suffered cancer and added that transportation of the ex-official to several hospitals over the course of past several days indicates that “something is wrong.”

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said that Merabishvili’s health condition is “very satisfactory” and his lawyers are trying to mislead people.

She also said that unlike the previous United National Movement leadership, “which did not care about the prisoners’ health”, the current Georgian Dream government takes all measures to prevent any possible health complications of any convict and that is why they are taken for medical checks frequently.

“The fact that Merabishvili’s health was checked several times at different hospitals means that we care about the health of any prisoner,” Tsulukiani said.

The Ministry of Corrections “hoped” that when the final medical conclusion is available, the lawyers would give up spreading of rumors.

The ministry added that September 26 medical checks in the Aversi clinic of Tbilisi excluded any tumors in the body and showed that Merabishvili’s health condition was getting better.

On September 24 the Ministry of Corrections made Merabishvili’s diagnoses public.

The ministry reported that Merabishvili suffered from vasomotor rhinitis, Horner's syndrome, and blepharoconjunctivitis.

Vasomotor rhinitis is inflammation of the membranes inside the nose; Horner's syndrome is a combination of symptoms that arises when a group of nerves called the sympathetic trunk is affected, while blepharoconjunctivitis refers to the irritation and inflammation of eyelids and conjunctiva.

Merabishvili, one of the most influential figures of the United National Movement, was detained in 2013 for alleged misspending budget funds and was sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for abuse of power, misspending of budget funds and bribing voters.

In September 2016 Merabishvili was further sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for charges related to the beating of opposition lawmaker Valeri Gelashvili in 2005.

The European Georgia opposition party has addressed President Giorgi Margvelashvili to pardon a “political prisoner” Merabishvili, before the expiration of his term in the position this month.