Moldova's president "deeply concerned" by Saakashvili’s deteriorating health

Moldova's president
A stencil in Tbilisi demanding Saakashvili's freedom. / bne IntelliNews
By Mack Tubridy in Tbilisi December 5, 2022
Moldovan President Maya Sandu has expressed concerns about the deteriorating health of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who remains in police detention and is awaiting trial.
“Deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating state of health of Georgia’s former President Mikheil. Every human life is priceless and the gravity of the situation requires immediate transfer of Saakashvili to an appropriate hospital to save his life,” Sandu wrote on Twitter. 
The Moldovan leader’s statement follows the release of a 2,980-page report on the ex-presidents health on December 1,  which covers the period from early June to late November of this year. 
The report, prepared by the Empathy medical center in Tbilisi, states that more than 20 diagnoses or symptoms are shown by the former president, of which around 10 make his condition “incompatible with imprisonment”.
No specific diagnoses are described in the report, however, it does say that the former president is experiencing an unexplained and prolonged fever, anorexia, rapid weight loss, muscular and joint pains, as well as muscle spasms.
Subsequently, Saakashvili’s defense lawyers have petitioned the Tbilisi City Court to release the ex-president or to postpone sentencing due to his poor health. 
One of the lawyers, Shalva Khachapuridze, argued that the failure of the court to take action would violate Georgian law, and would “mean the death sentence” for Saakashvili.
According to Georgian law, a criminal sentence can be deferred on health grounds until the recovery or substantial improvement of a defendant’s condition based on medical expertise. Likewise, a sentence may be lifted due to old age, as well as serious or terminal illness. 
In recent months, several high-ranking Western officials have weighed in on reports concerning Saakashvili’s deteriorating health. 
“It is important to ensure that Mr Saakashvili receives the medical care that he needs and that his human rights are respected,” The US Ambassador to Georgia, Kelley Degnan, recently told journalists, adding that she will continue to “advocate for the government to take appropriate steps based on this recently released medical information”.
Back in May, the European People’s Party released a statement where it asserted that “the government of Georgia is responsible for the physical and mental health of the 3rd President of Georgia. This is not a matter of political choice, but a fundamental human right.”
Georgian authorities have maintained that the rights of the former president have been protected, including in his transfer for treatment to Gori Military Hospital in November and then to Vivamedi clinic in May. 
Georgian President Salome Zourabaichvili told journalists at the BBC in late November that she does not want to see Saakashvili “die in prison” and supported allowing his transfer abroad for treatment if it was deemed necessary. But she added that such a decision could only be made by a court and must be based on evidence.
In October 2021, Saakashvili returned to Georgia after eight years of political exile, calling on his followers to march on the capital, Tbilisi. He was subsequently arrested on longstanding abuse of office charges. 

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