The Georgian authorities are doing all they can to make sure former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is disabled, Georgian political scientist Gela Vasadze said in an interview with Radio NV on Jan. 11.
Asked whether the Georgian authorities would simply let Saakashvili die in jail or a prison hospital, Vasadze said: “Most likely, no.”
“Most likely, it will simply lead to the fact that he will become disabled. They’re waiting for irreversible processes. They won’t hand him over to the United States.”
Vasadze claimed that the Georgian authorities were torturing Saakashvili because they are afraid of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
He said that he used to think that the only person whom the Georgian authorities could listen to was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but now he considers U.S. President Joe Biden to be such a person as well.
“There is no one else, unfortunately,” he said.
“But I don’t see any steps on the part of the United States. And of course, they don’t listen to Ukraine’s opinion.”
The political scientist reiterated that the Georgian authorities were paying no heed to the position of human rights defenders and rallies in support of Saakashvili, and over the seven months that he has been in the hospital his condition has been getting worse.
“They claim that he is pretending and could stay in prison,” Vasadze said.
“But …it’s obvious they’re afraid to release Saakashvili, because in this case Putin’s revenge could be instant.”
He said that Saakashvili had been the first to challenge Putin. In turn, Putin vowed to destroy Saakashvili “and he’s destroying him.”
Vasadze also confirmed that Putin’s revenge against Saakashvili has been going on for years, because “(Putin) is a petty, vindictive creature.”
Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Jan. 8 that Ukraine had officially appealed to the Georgian government to transfer Saakashvili for medical treatment.
On Dec. 20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also called for Saakashvili to be sent for medical treatment abroad.
Saakashvili, who also served as governor of Odesa Oblast from 2015-2016 and holds Ukrainian citizenship, has been behind bars since his return to Georgia on the eve of local elections in the autumn of 2021. He had not been in the country since his second term as president ended in 2013.
Saakashvili has claimed that he was imprisoned for political reasons, and has gone on hunger strike several times in an effort to secure his release.
According to a statement made by Saakashvili’s lawyers, family, and supporters, as a result of a hunger strike and improper treatment in prison, the former president’s health is deteriorating seriously, and he needs treatment abroad. Reportedly, Saakashvili has been diagnosed with dementia and tuberculosis, according to attorney Shalva Khachapuridze.
Currently, Saakashvili is said to have been transferred from prison to the Vivamedi medical clinic in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.