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  • Jailed ex-Georgia leader Saakashvili ends 50-day hunger strike

The former President agreed to end hunger strike after the country's authorities offered to move him to a military hospital.

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Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has agreed to end a 50-day hunger strike in prison that had raised political tensions in the former Soviet republic and drawn expressions of concern from the United States.

Saakashvili agreed to end his protest on Friday after authorities offered to move him to a military hospital from a prison hospital where an independent rights commissioner had said he was being abused by fellow inmates and not receiving appropriate medical treatment.

On Thursday, Saakashvili fainted and doctors had urged authorities to move him to a regular clinic, saying his life was in danger.

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Reuters TV footage showed a convoy including two ambulances departing late on Friday from the prison where Saakashvili, 53, had been held in the capital Tbilisi, en route to the military hospital in the town of Gori.

In a statement quoted by the Sputnik Georgia news service, the former president said he would resume eating after the transfer but would never accept his “illegal detention”.

His personal doctor, Nokoloz Kipshidze, said “[Former] president Saakashvili formally called off his hunger strike right after he was transferred to the Gori military hospital”. “He still is in a life-threatening condition and was placed in an intensive care ward,” Kipshidze told AFP news agency, adding that Saakashvili’s “re-feeding will begin later on Saturday”.

Saakashvili was arrested on October 1 after returning from exile to rally the opposition on the eve of local elections. He faces six years in prison after being convicted in absentia in 2018 of abusing his office during his 2004-2013 presidency, charges he rejects as politically motivated.

Georgia’s human rights commissioner said on Wednesday that Saakashvili needed to be moved to intensive care to avoid the risk of heart failure, internal bleeding, and coma after more than a month and a half on hunger strike. Until Friday, he had insisted on being transferred to a civilian hospital.


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Hammed Zubair


posted 2021-11-20 09:36:26

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