Georgia keeps former leader Saakashvili locked up

Georgia keeps former leader Saakashvili locked up
Опубликовано: Thursday, 02 March 2023 13:05

Tbilisi court says there was ‘no legal basis for the appeal.’


Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will remain in custody, a Tbilisi appeals court ruled Thursday in a move set to further endanger the country’s prospects of joining the European Union.

Last month, his request to be released on health grounds was denied by a lower court — but the former Georgian leader had appealed the decision.

“After examining the materials [and] information presented in the case, it was considered there was no legal basis for the appeal,” the Tbilisi Court of Appeals said in a statement.

Saakashvili has been in detention since October 2021 on abuse of power charges, which he claims are politically motivated. Since then, there have been widespread reports of his rapidly declining health.

On several occasions, the former pro-Western leader — who is reportedly being poisoned in detention — looked gaunt and emaciated, including in video appearances before the court handling his case over the last few weeks.

The Georgian government, led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, is facing increasing diplomatic pressure to address Saakashvili’s medical condition.

In February, the European Parliament warned in a resolution that the Georgian authorities’ “continuing failure” to act would “hamper [Georgia’s] European Union candidacy prospects.”

The text singled out Bidzina Ivanishvili, an oligarch and former prime minister who made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s, as being responsible for Saakashvili’s continued detention “as part of a personal vendetta” against the former president.

Georgia applied for EU membership last March, but was not granted candidate status, and will have to implement several reforms first — including strengthening the independence of the country’s judiciary.

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