Former Georgian President and opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been on hunger strike for weeks after being transferred to a prison hospital, announced that he was “beaten by his jailers and fears for his life”.
Saakashvili said in a letter to his lawyer: “They insulted me, beat me on the neck, and pulled me on the ground by my hair,” stressing that “the aim of his transfer to the prison hospital is to kill him.”
On Monday, the prison administration announced that it had transferred Saakashvili, who has been on hunger strike for 39 days, to the prison hospital “in order to avoid the deterioration of his health and because of the increased risks to his safety.”
Saakashvili assumed the presidency of the country from 2004 until 2013 and is now the leader of the opposition, and was imprisoned in early October upon his return from exile before the first round of elections.
He began his hunger strike to protest his imprisonment after the judiciary convicted him of “abuse of power”, a charge he asserts were politically motivated.
And the imprisonment of Saakashvili exacerbated the political crisis that began with the legislative elections that took place last year, which were won by a narrow margin, the ruling “Georgian Dream” party, which the opposition considered fraudulent.
For weeks, his supporters have been demanding his release, or at least his admission to a civilian hospital.
On Monday, tens of thousands of Saakashvili’s supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, after the prison administration announced his transfer to hospital.