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Public Defender Establishes Multiprofile Group of Experts to Monitor Mikheil Saakashvili's Medical Services

On November 16, 2021, the Public Defender of Georgia invited a group of multiprofile medical experts to monitor the adequacy and timeliness of medical services provided to accused/convicted Mikheil Saakashvili, 3rd President of Georgia, by the Ministry of Justice/Special Penitentiary Service. The group also aims to assess whether Medical Establishment No. 18 is currently in compliance with the protection of Mikheil Saakashvili's right to health and whether adequate medical care will be available at the facility after the prisoner calls off his long hunger strike, as required by the European Court of Human Rights in its November 10 ruling.

The Public Defender's Office has been monitoring the quality and timeliness of the medical services provided to Mikheil Saakashvili in the penitentiary system since the day of his arrest. The Office has also been guided by the reports and recommendations of the multifunctional council created by the Ministry of Justice.

Mikheil Saakashvili has been on hunger strike for 47 days, which may pose a critical threat to his health and life. At the same time, unfortunately, after the transfer of the prisoner to Establishment No. 18 (nine days ago), the multifunctional council established by the Ministry has not been able to enter the facility or participate in the management of the patient's health condition.

The Public Defender decided to use the powers granted to her by law and to set up a multiprofile group of experts to monitor the effectiveness of the medical services provided to the prisoner by the State. However, she also emphasizes that the Public Defender cannot and will not replace the responsibility of the State for the care of the prisoner and his health.

The Public Defender has already used the mandate of inviting medical specialists for consultation relating to other prisoners.

Currently, in connection with the case of prisoner Mikheil Saakashvili, the Public Defender invited the following specialists distinguished by their qualifications and good faith:

  • Giorgi Grigolia - Anesthesiologist-resuscitator
  • Grigoli Khurtsidze - Internal diseases/hospital medicine
  • Giorgi Kacharava - Cardiologist
  • Giorgi Papiashvili - Cardiologist/arrhythmologist
  • Aida Gozalova - Hematologist, clinical oncologist, internist, palliative medicine specialist
  • Mamuka Machaidze - Infectionist, therapist
  • Tengo Tsuladze - Neurologist
  • Nino Zavrashvili - Endocrinologist

Merab Kavtaradze, Doctor of Medicine, employed in the Public Defender's Office on the basis of an employment contract, will also be involved in the group's activities. If necessary, the group will be expanded.

The group of multiprofile experts will use the special credentials issued by the Public Defender, on the basis of which, if necessary, experts will visit prisoner Mikheil Saakashvili, inspect Medical Establishment No. 18, study the relevant medical documents and submit reports to the Public Defender. The reports will be used by the Public Defender in the process of drawing up proposals and recommendations regarding Mikheil Saakashvili.

We also call on the Ministry of Justice/Special Penitentiary Service to ensure regular visits of the multifunctional council established by them and not to interfere with their effective operation, including through bureaucratic obstacles, as well as to develop a protocol for the operation of the multifunctional council as soon as possible.

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