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Saakashvili to Stop Hunger Strike if Taken to Civil Clinic

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, November 12
The imprisoned former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has released a letter from Gldani prison hospital, saying that he would stop the hunger strike if taken to a multifunctional civil clinic for rehabilitation.

Saakashvili decided to call off his hunger strike after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) urged him to do so.

“Recovering from a hunger strike is way harder than managing it... I appeal to the medical council to decide on which multifunctional, highly equipped clinic I will be transferred to,” he wrote.

Saakashvili also addressed the opposition Droa party leader Elene Khoshtaria, who has been on a hunger strike in solidarity with Saakashvili, ‘with immense respect and gratitude’ to immediately call off her hunger.

The former president, who was serving his sentence in Rustavi Prison No.12, was transferred to Gldani prison hospital on November 8 to ‘prevent deterioration of his health due to increased risks.'

On November 10, ECHR issued an interim ruling on ‘temporary measures’ concerning Saakashvili‘s hunger strike, his health, and safety. The ECHR urged Saakashvili to call off his hunger strike and rejected his complaint on his transfer to a private clinic from a prison hospital. The court also demanded from the Georgian government to inform them about Saakashvili’s health condition by November 24 and ensure proper medical care for him now and in the post-hunger-strike period and safety in the penitentiary institution.

The court indicated that if the Georgian government fails to take these measures, then the Georgian government may be found to be violating Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This article obliges the state, not to hinder a person/organization/group of persons, to appeal to the ECHR.

The letter received from Strasbourg was followed by different interpretations among political camps. The United National Movement says that by the decision of Strasbourg, Mikheil Saakashvili’s hunger strike is already internationally recognized; ECHR did not directly indicate the issue of Saakashvili’s transfer to civilian clinic, however, it indicated the need for a high standard of treatment and that on November 24 this information will be reconciled once again and with a high probability, the Strasbourg court will once again discuss what is happening. On the other hand, Minister of Justice Rati Bregadze said a Strasbourg court had rejected Saakashvili’s complaint to transfer him to a private clinic and demanded him to end the hunger strike.

The UNM party is holding rallies across the country demanding Saakashvili's transportation to a civil clinic, then his release from prison and annulment of recent municipal election results. The GD government says that Saakashvili and the UNM plan to cause unrest once he's transferred to a civil clinic. Yesterday, the party released a statement, promising they will not hold rallies near the clinic if Saakashvili is transferred there.