Former Georgia President Saakashvili moved to jail hospital weeks into hunger strike

Saakashvili, 53, was arrested on Oct. 1 this year after returning to Georgia on the eve of local elections to rally the opposition, in what he described as a mission to save the country.

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was transferred to a prison hospital on Monday,authorities said, just over five weeks after he declared a hunger strike in jail.

Saakashvili, 53, was arrested on Oct. 1 this year after returning to Georgia on the eve of local elections to rally the opposition, in what he described as a mission to save the country.

He was jailed in the town of Rustavi, south of the capital Tbilisi, where he declared a hunger strike.

He faces six years in prison after being convicted in absentia in 2018 of abusing his office during his rule as president of the former Soviet republic from 2004 to 2013 -charges he rejected as politically motivated.

President Salome Zourabichvili said last week Saakashvili had returned in order to destabilise Georgian politics and that he could never be pardoned.

But she said that given the strong public interest in hi scase, he must be recognised as a special prisoner and authorities should take all possible measures “so the deterioration of his health is not used for political speculation or destabilisation”.

The Georgian prison service announced his transfer to hospital on Facebook.

A lawyer for Saakashvili had no immediate comment on his transfer.

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