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Saakashvili claims he was poisoned, says he is ‘close to death'
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told Sky News he was poisoned in prison, adding that he is “close to death.”
“I was initially 120 kilogrammes, now I am 64, If I become less than 60, doctors predict multiple organ failure,” Saakashvili said.
He added: “I am in bed all the time, my bones are disintegrating and it gives excruciating pain.”
Georgian authorities have reportedly dismissed Saakashvili’s claim and are not permitting him to be transferred for medical assistance outside of Georgia.
“It’s an awful scene,” Shalva Khachapuridze, Saakashvili’s lawyer, told Sky News. “He looks like a prisoner in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany.”
Through his correspondence with Sky News, Saakashvili also conveyed a message to those protesting in Georgia against the controversial “foreign agents” draft law.
“Stay very vigilant, be ready to mobilize at short notice, because of the vengeful mood of the oligarch’s regime,” he said.
Saakashvili, who has Ukrainian citizenship, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence on charges of abuse of power. After several hunger strikes, his health has taken a drastic turn for the worse.
The EU Ambassador to Georgia Pawel Herczynski said on Feb. 27 that he had submitted a statement of protest to Georgia calling for the release of imprisoned former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili so that he can receive medical treatment in Poland.
According to Poland's RFM 24, the statement of protest calling for Saakashvili to receive fair medical treatment was accepted by all EU member states except for Hungary. After pressure from Poland, Hungary backed down.
An EU diplomat and the Polish government voiced their fears to RFM 24 about Saakashvili's safety.
On Feb. 15, the European Parliament released a resolution calling for Saakashvili to receive the medical treatment he needs.
The statement added that if his health were to take a turn for the worse it would "damage Georgia’s reputation and hamper its European Union candidacy prospects."
Georgia applied for EU membership last year at the same time as Ukraine and Moldova but was not granted candidate status, unlike the latter two.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has also called on Georgia to release Saakashvili for medical treatment abroad. During a press conference on Feb. 1, Zelensky said that the Georgian government was "killing" Saakashvili.
On Feb. 1, the media published photos that show signs of his worsening health and rapid weight loss.
In January Saakashvili was transferred to the intensive care unit due to his deteriorating health, his press secretary Giorgi Chaladze said, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
In November Saakashvili's lawyer Shalva Khachapuridze said that doctors believe the ex-president had 36 diseases, including tuberculosis and dementia.
Georgia's human rights ombudsman Nino Lomjaria said in November that Saakashvili was not being given proper medical care and was being abused by fellow inmates.
The incumbent Georgian authorities have stripped Saakashvili of his Georgian citizenship and charged and convicted him in several cases that he says are political and fabricated.