Georgian Justice Ministry calls on Saakashvili to accept health services

Georgian Justice Ministry calls on Saakashvili to accept health services

Georgia’s Justice Ministry on Wednesday called on the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili to accept health services offered to him in detention “without preconditions,” following a list of demands released by the politician as terms for accepting an offer of his transfer to a civilian clinic for medical checks.

On Tuesday, Saakashvili said he would accept the proposal of being transferred from the prison clinic in the city of Rustavi to Vivamedi, a clinic in Tbilisi, if permanent access to visits for his family members, his doctor Nika Kipshidze and members of a commission set up by Empathy non-governmental organisation was ensured.

He also demanded lawyers and members of United National Movement opposition party be allowed to visit him during working hours.

The list of conditions followed an offer of the Ministry for the transfer, which itself was made after claims by Saakashvili’s medical team and the opposition party members about a deterioration of his health in detention.

The Ministry said Saakashvili was provided with “adequate treatment” in prison, but refused to follow the recommendations and take the full complement of medications.

In its statement, the state body said “in order to minimise the possible risks of deterioration of health conditions - resulting from the actions [of refusing full treatment] by [Saakashvili] - the Special Penitentiary Service offered him on Tuesday to be transferred to a multiprofile civilian sector clinic for relevant medical treatment”.

The Ministry added its offer had been met by “preconditioned consent that was equivalent to an ultimatum” from the former President, and called on him to accept the health services in prison. 

The statement also said admission of visitors in the civilian clinic “would be ensured in accordance with legislation” and recommendations of the medical staff.

Both the Ministry and the Special Penitentiary Service have expressed “full confidence” in “medical institutions licenced in Georgia and their medical staff,” in response to the claims of Saakashvili’s supporters demanding his transfer for treatment abroad.