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Lawyer Of Jailed Hunger Striking Saakashvili Says Client's Health State Dramatically Worsened

Mikheil Saakashvili, pictured in Rustavi Prison
Mikheil Saakashvili, pictured in Rustavi Prison

TBILISI -- A lawyer for former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says his client's state of health has worsened dramatically and intensive care physicians had to interfere overnight to perform resuscitation assistance as the politician enters his 25th day of a hunger strike.

Dito Sadzaglishvili said on October 25 that Saakashvili may need resuscitation assistance again given his current condition.

"[The situation] confirms what the Concilium of physicians said earlier in their recommendation, concluding that [Georgia's] third president is entering the phase of his hunger strike where a sharp decline in health can take place any time. Therefore, possible immediate medical interference will be on the agenda," Sadzaglishvili said.

Five days earlier, Sadzaglishvili said his client had consented to medical intervention while vowing to continue his protest.

On October 19, a group of doctors recommended prison administrators transfer Saakashvili to a hospital for observation after visiting him behind bars.

Saakashvili was arrested on October 1 hours after he announced he had returned to Georgia following an eight-year absence. He immediately went on a hunger strike, while his arrest triggered a protest by tens of thousands of his supporters in Tbilisi.

The 53-year-old has said his incarceration for what Georgian law enforcement agencies called illegally crossing the border was politically motivated.

Saakashvili’s detention in a prison in Rustavi has deepened a protracted political crisis in Georgia. Dozens of European lawmakers and other current and former politicians have called for his release.

Saakashvili served as the South Caucasus country's president from 2004 and 2013. He was sentenced in 2018 in absentia to a total of nine years in prison after being convicted of abuse of power in two separate cases. The ex-president has rejected all charges as politically motivated.

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