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Georgia's Saakashvili Urges U.S. To Pressure Tbilisi Over 'Erosion Of Democracy'

A pro-Saakashvili protester in Tbilisi draped in a U.S. flag (file photo)

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has called on the United States to pressure his country's government, saying democracy in Georgia is "in grave danger."

In an open letter published by Politico on November 20, Saakashvili lamented what he called the "worrisome erosion of freedom and growing Russian influence" in the South Caucasus country.

The same day, Saakashvili – who has been in custody since October 1 after returning to Georgia after eight years of self-imposed exile -- ended a 50-day hunger strike, despite continuing to call for his release and transfer to a civilian hospital.

Ten pro-Saakashvili parliamentarians, who had also been hunger striking as a gesture of support, also ended their actions the same day.

Saakashvili served as Georgia's president from 2004 until 2013. In January 2018, he was convicted in absentia in Georgia of abuse of office and sentenced to three years in prison. In June 2018, he was again convicted in absentia of abuse of office and sentenced to six years in prison. Saakashvili and his supporters say the prosecutions were politically motivated.

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