In a column for Politico, Mikheil Saakashvili says that the Georgian prison where he is being kept has turned him from a healthy and vigorous man into a patient with 20 serious illnesses. Saakashvili writes that he will soon die if he cannot receive treatment outside of the country. The Insider quotes fragments from Saakashvili's appeal to the international community:
When I returned to Georgia in October 2021, after eight years in exile, to support free and fair parliamentary elections, I was a healthy, energetic 54-year-old man. I was then immediately arrested by Georgian authorities and have been imprisoned ever since based upon hearsay and politically motivated charges of “abuse of power,” which only the Kremlin and the current Georgian government consider legitimate.
And in detention, my health has declined precipitously; I am now dying.
I have been systematically tortured, physically and psychologically, and there is currently evidence of heavy metal poisoning in my body. I now suffer from a bewildering array of over 20 serious illnesses, all of which developed in confinement.
It is also increasingly apparent that I will die soon if I don’t receive proper medical care outside of the country.
I continue to call on the U.S. and the international community to do what they can to save my life by applying diplomatic pressure on the Georgian government, and imposing economic sanctions against Ivanishvili and his associates.
My death may cause political chaos in Georgia, but my martyrdom will certainly be considered a victory for Putin — a powerful symbol to all leaders in this region, and possibly the world, who fail to stand up to Russian imperialism.
In his column, Saakashvili also indicates that Georgia has “continued sliding toward the Kremlin”:
Georgia’s democratic regression was again highlighted with the release of the United States State Department’s Human Rights Report, while the global threat to democracy was showcased during a meeting between Putin and President Xi Jinping of China last month.
At the same time, however, people of Georgia confirmed their commitment to democracy and the fight against such tyranny by protesting in the streets in front of the parliament building in downtown Tbilisi.
Mikheil Saakashvili served as the president of the Republic of Georgia from 2004 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2013.
He was a vocal supporter of the Euromaidan movement and the change of Ukraine's political regime in 2014. In 2015, he was appointed advisor to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, obtained a Ukrainian passport, and subsequently renounced his Georgian citizenship.
Upon his return to his home country in October 2021, Saakashvili was immediately arrested because as early as in 2018, a Georgian court had sentenced him to six years in prison in absentia for abuse of authority. In May 2022, the ex-president's health condition was so deplorable that he had to be hospitalized. The list of conditions Saakashvili was diagnosed with includes dementia and general intoxication; furthermore, he lost over 40 kilos during his incarceration.
According to the politician himself, he was poisoned, and he therefore appealed to the leading Bellingcat investigator Christo Grozev to look into the attempt on his life.