decries ‘horrifying’ pictures of jailed ex-president

38 decries ‘horrifying’ pictures of jailed ex-president

Footage mentioned to be from an internet court docket listening to for former Georgian chief Mikheil Saakashvili has stoked worries about his well being

Ukrainian officers have accused Tbilisi of torturing Georgia’s incarcerated ex-president, Mikheil Saakashvili, after footage purporting to point out a digital court docket look by the previous chief surfaced on social media.

Video footage and nonetheless pictures from the listening to have been posted on Monday, displaying a graying Saakashvili pulling up his shirt to point out his emaciated state. The previous president, who was detained in October 2021 to serve a mixed six years in jail for abuse of energy and masking up proof a couple of banker’s homicide, was transferred to a hospital in Tbilisi final yr due to poor well being.

The professional-Western Saakashvili holds a Ukrainian passport and served a one-year stint because the governor of Odessa Area, whereas residing in exile from Georgia, earlier than resigning in 2016. Present Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has refused requests by Kiev to launch Saakashvili for medical therapy in Ukraine.

Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, reacted to the brand new pictures of Saakashvili by accusing Georgia of torturing its former head of state “slowly and cynically” to curry favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He claimed that the Tbilisi authorities was ruining its “European prospects” and making Georgia “synonymous with cannibalism.”

Saakashvili, 55, has gone on starvation strikes since his arrest. His weight reportedly dropped from 115kg (254 kilos) in October 2021 to 74kg final December. He claimed earlier this yr that he had been poisoned with high-density metals by “Russian brokers” whereas in custody.

The Georgian authorities has accused Saakashvili of faking the severity of his sickness and launched footage of the inmate final December, displaying his “offensive and aggressive conduct” towards hospital staffers. “This footage clearly exhibits that Mikheil Saakashvili is dissembling with the intention to impede the enforcement of justice and mislead the general public and worldwide companions,” the Georgian Particular Penitentiary Service mentioned on the time. Georgian medics have blamed his dramatic weight reduction on his refusals to eat.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Inside Ministry, referred to as the newest footage of Saakashvili “horrifying.” He added: “President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili refuses to pardon Saakashvili. He’s clearly in a nasty state and wishes medical therapy.”

Georgia has confronted worldwide stress to hitch in US-led sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine battle. Air site visitors between Georgia and Russia resumed in Could beneath a decree signed by Putin.

Saakashvili was president from 2004 to 2013, and launched an assault towards the breakaway republic of South Ossetia in August 2008. The assault killed a variety of Russian peacekeepers within the area, triggering a five-day battle between Tbilisi and Moscow.

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