Lawyers for Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, said a group of Polish doctors sent by the European Union (EU) had been allowed to examine the politician on Wednesday to monitor his deteriorating health.
Saakashvili’s legal team said an initial request to examine him was first submitted six months ago but approval had been delayed. “After six months of procrastinations, the government finally allowed the [Polish] doctors to see Mikheil Saakashvili in hospital,” lawyer Dito Sadzaglishvili told the AFP news agency.
“The medical mission has been set up by the EU. They are examining his condition and will subsequently make their conclusions,” he added.
Polish President Mateusz Morawiecki announced Wednesday on Twitter: “We do not leave friends in need. At my request, a team of Polish doctors […] began a comprehensive medical examination of President Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia.”
Concerns over Saakashvili’s health spiked last week when the 55-year-old appeared frail and emaciated in a court video appearance on July 3. It was the first time the former leader — who returned to Georgia and was arrested for “abuse of office” on October 1, 2021 — had been seen in months.
Saakashvili served as Georgia’s president from 2004 to 2013 and was sentenced to six years in prison for alleged misdeeds committed during that time.
He maintains that his punishment is politically motivated. Rights experts from the Council of Europe say Saakashvili is a political prisoner. The NGO Amnesty International has said he is the target of “apparent political revenge.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for whom Saakashvili was a top advisor, accused Russia of “killing” him “at the hands of Georgian authorities.” Saakashvili is a Ukrainian citizen who has held several high-level posts in the country.
Though the EU and the US have urged Georgia to provide Saakashvili with better treatment, he has asked to be sent abroad.
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