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Zelensky: Georgian government is killing Saakashvili.

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 1, 2023 9:12 PM 2 min read
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President Volodymyr Zelensky on Feb. 1 said he believes the "Georgian government is killing" ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is currently in jail.

He was speaking at a news conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen after seeing photos of the current condition of Saakashvili, who is a Ukrainian citizen.

On Feb. 1, the media published photos that show signs of his worsening health and rapid weight loss.

Saakashvili, who is now serving a six-year sentence on charges of abuse of power, has been transferred to the intensive care unit due to his deteriorating health, his press secretary Giorgi Chaladze said on Jan. 31, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

According to the publication, the director of the clinic refused to confirm the information and said that “he is still in the ward.”

Recently, Mikheil Saakashvili was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Saakashvili's mother said that the politician had lost consciousness at night and had a high temperature, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

On Dec. 20, Zelensky called on Georgia to release Saakashvili for treatment abroad. However, no action has been taken.

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.

Saakashvili, who was the president of Georgia in 2004-2013, carried out pro-Western reforms in his native country.

After the rival Georgian Dream party came to power in Georgia in 2012-2013, Saakashvili moved to Ukraine. Then President Petro Poroshenko appointed him as head of an advisory reform council and governor of Odesa Oblast in 2015.

However, Saakashvili started exposing corruption schemes and fell out with Poroshenko. He was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, prosecuted and then deported by the Ukrainian authorities in 2018 in what he believes to be an unlawful political vendetta.

In 2019 Zelensky was elected president and restored Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship. In 2020 Zelensky appointed the ex-Georgian president as head of Ukraine's Executive Council for Reforms.

Saakashvili returned to Georgia in 2021 in an effort to boost support for the opposition and was jailed.

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.

In 2018, a Georgian court sentenced him to six years in prison in absentia on charges of ordering the beating of opposition lawmaker Valery Gelashvili. The evidence against Saakashvili was based on testimony by two of his political foes.

A Georgian court also sentenced Saakashvili in 2018 to three years in prison on abuse of power charges for pardoning four police officers convicted of murder. Saakashvili argued that his right to pardon them was not constitutionally limited.

Interpol and Western governments have not recognized the verdicts.

Saakashvili, a foe of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, has accused Bidzina Ivanishvili, the ex-chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, of persecuting him on Putin's orders. The Georgian Dream party has sought to maintain good relations with both Russia and the European Union.

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