Public Defender Responds to Dissemination of Incorrect Information as if Mikheil Saakashvili Started Taking Food

During the visit to Penitentiary Establishment No. 12 on November 6, 2021, representatives of the Public Defender of Georgia checked the health condition of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, talked to the medical staff, studied the latest information/documents related to his hunger strike and met with the prisoner himself.

The visit made it clear that from October 30, 2021, at the request of the head of the Medical Department of the Special Penitentiary Service and the medical staff of the establishment, Mikheil Saakashvili had been receiving small amounts of juices and mineral purees for medical purposes. These products were supplied by the medical staff themselves, who explained that they could not be evaluated as food and taking them in small doses, in a liquid form, was conditioned by the health condition of the patient. The above is confirmed by the medical documents as well, which do not indicate that the patient is taking food, or that any change has been made in the form of hunger strike, which is necessary to indicate in case the prisoner starts eating. According to the information received, Mikheil Saakashvili has been on a continuous hunger strike since October 1, 2021 and has not received any food.

According to Mikheil Saakashvili, from today he refuses any kind of juice, glucose, electrolytes, medicines, part of treatment and some medical examinations. The reason for this is the reports saying that he has started eating.

The Public Defender believes that the dissemination of incorrect information of such content harms not only the rights situation of a particular person, but of all prisoners. Such an attitude may force prisoners, who are on hunger strike, to refuse all kinds of fluids and medicines, which will further aggravate their health condition. In addition, the release of such information is a major blow to prisoners' confidence in medical staff - Mikheil Saakashvili was told that taking fluids and supplements was a medical necessity and a substitute for medication, although the Justice Minister later said that it went beyond the medical necessity.

In addition, the Public Defender will study the issuance and dissemination of a special category personal data on the conditions of detention and health status of Mikheil Saakashvili by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, and if necessary, will apply to the State Inspector's Office to take appropriate measures.

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