Former Georgian president to end hunger strike after 50 days

Associated Press / Richard Drew

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s agreed Friday that he would end his 50-day hunger strike once he was transferred to a military hospital, the official’s lawyer told Reuters

The health of Saakashvili has received attention from the U.S. and other countries, and garnered concern from the human rights commissioner in Georgia, who claimed that inmates were hurting the former president, according to the wire service. 

To avoid the possibility of a coma, heart failure risks or internal bleeding, the human rights commissioner urged that he be placed in intensive care. 

On Friday night, Saakashvili’s lawyer told Reuters he would be transported to a military hospital in Gori, located west of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Saakashvili, who served as Georgia’s president from 2004-2013, was convicted of abusing his office during his exile in Ukraine. Saakashvili has deemed them “politically motivated” charges.

He returned to the country on Oct. 1 before local elections were held to boost the political opposition, and he was subsequently arrested, according to the news outlet.  

“We urge the Government of Georgia to treat Mr. Saakashvili fairly and with dignity, as well as to heed the Public Defender’s recommendations about appropriate treatment,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Thursday prior to the arrangement.

“We also strongly urge the Government of Georgia to ensure Mr. Saakashvili is able to attend all court hearings for his pending criminal cases, in line with international law. Mr. Saakashvili has a right to a fair trial, which includes the opportunity to attend court hearings in person should he request to do so,” he added. 

—Updated at 3:58 p.m.

Tags Georgia Ned Price State Department
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