Georgia’s imprisoned opposition leader and a former president Mikheil Saakashvili fainted in the prison on Thursday amid hunger strike. Saakashvili’s lawyers told Georgian press the ex-president was taken out on a stretcher by the medics when he lost consciousness.
Saakashvili has been on a hunger strike for 49 days while protesting his incarceration. A council of medics set up by Georgia’s public defender says Saakashvili’s health is rapidly deteriorating. They recommend he be transferred from the prison hospital to a civilian clinic better equipped to treat him.
The Georgian government insisted that Saakashvili receives adequate medical care in the prison hospital and there is no need to transfer him to a civilian hospital. One of the doctors treating the former Georgian president says the president has been “stabilized” since losing consciousness and “is under continuous health monitoring” to ensure his well-being.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price has previously urged Georgian government to “immediately take steps to ensure that Mr. Saakashvili’s urgent mental health and medical needs are addressed.”
Saakashvili was convicted on corruption charges in absentia. He was arrested upon return to his home country of Georgia. He denies all charges and claims his conviction was politically motivated.