Public Defender Visits Mikheil SaakashviliMonday, 20 March 2023 09:57
On March 19, 2023, Public Defender Levan Ioseliani visited third president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and 13 other prisoners who are also being treated at the VivaMedi clinic.
"The former president and I talked for almost an hour on various topics.
Since I am not a doctor and do not have the relevant qualifications, I will not go into the details of his medical condition, which is the competence of specialists.
However, I confirmed to him that all the monitoring mechanisms that the Public Defender has, including the medical council, would be maintained and that I would not hamper the process. I also told him that the Public Defender would continue to supervise his health within the scope of his mandate.
Of course, the condition of other prisoners being treated in this clinic is also important. They also have specific needs, which will be studied in more detail by the Public Defender's representatives in the future.
I wish all the prisoners to have good health and to be released soon", said the Public Defender.
European Parliament urges Georgia to pardon and release ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili
On 15 February, the European Parliament expressed its grave concerns about the deteriorating health of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been detained in his home country since October 2021.
While noting reports of his dramatic weight loss and suggestions that he might have suffered from heavy metal poisoning while in detention, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) call on the Georgian authorities to release Saakashvili and allow him to receive proper medical treatment abroad. They also urge current President Salome Zourabishvili to use her constitutional right to pardon him. This would also reduce the political polarisation in the country, say MEPs.
They added that the way prisoners, such as the ex-President, are treated in the country is a litmus test for the Georgian government’s commitment to European values and its declared European aspirations, including EU candidate status, which has so far not been granted to Georgia.
Moreover, the resolution, adopted with 577 votes in favour, underlines the fundamental role that oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili has played in Saakashvili’s ongoing detention “as part of a personal vendetta”.
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L. Ioseliani calls Droa's statement disinformation and states that he supported the CoE resolution, but did not support the fourth amendment, where M. Saakashvili is referred as a political prisonerMonday, 17 October 2022 16:41
Levan Ioseliani, one of the leaders of the Citizens party, responds to the statement of the Droa party. According to Droa, Levan Ioseliani and representatives of Georgian Dream did not attend the PACE voting procedure where Russia was declared a terrorist regime. Levan Ioseliani calls this statement disinformation and explains that he supported the resolution, but did not support the fourth amendment of the resolution, where Mikheil Saakashvili is referred as a political prisoner.
"Yesterday, the resolution adopted in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe against Russian aggression was followed by a lot of responses. Obviously, I supported this resolution, although I did not support its fourth amendment, where Saakashvili is referred as a political prisoner. Since my vote does not appear in the results of the unanimous vote, someone assumed, that I did not support the text of the resolution. Of course, in this voting list, my vote would not appear, because if you want to support the resolution, without any amendments, you must announce it verbally at the plenary session and then your support will be attached to the record of the results of the resolution. So, if you have any doubts, friends, you can find my support in the verbal notes of October 14 on the website of the Assembly. On the day of the vote, my vote was technically not recorded, so I asked in the session the next day to correct, this is also considered as an official vote. Voting in this manner is an accepted and frequent practice in the Assembly. Therefore, the resolution has the support of Levan Ioseliani in the form of a record, which can be seen in the records on the official page of PACE," says Levan Ioseliani.
PACE calls for a review of cases of political prisoners opposed to President Putin, and for their release, including M. SaakashviliMonday, 17 October 2022 16:21
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls for a review of cases of political prisoners opposed to President Putin, in the Russian Federation and in other countries, and for their release, including Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukrainian citizen and former President of Georgia. The above is said in the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe - "Further escalation in the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine", which was approved by the Assembly yesterday.
The resolution, among other things, talks about the repressive environment in the Russian Federation.
"The authorities have implemented a far-reaching crackdown on civil liberties based on intimidation and open persecution, with the goal to provoke a state of terror in the general public for political purposes. Democratic figures are being repressed or killed, the system of opposition parties has been destroyed, the judiciary is not independent and many media and civil society organisations, such as Memorial International, have been closed down. Despite the many draconian measures passed in recent years, anti-war demonstrations and protests have been breaking out across the country. Amongst the most prominent public figures being persecuted for voicing criticism against the war is Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been detained since April 2022. On 10 October 2022, the Assembly was honoured to award Mr Kara-Murza with the 2022 Václav Havel Prize, affirming support for his courage and determination to create a peaceful, democratic Russia. The Assembly calls on the Russian authorities for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza. The Assembly also calls for a review of cases of other political prisoners opposed to President Putin, in the Russian Federation and in other countries, and for their release (including Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukrainian citizen and former President of Georgia)," reads the resolution.
99 out of 100 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe supported the resolution calling on European countries to declare the current Russian regime a terrorist regime, while one member, a Turkish MP from the Republican People's Party, abstained.
Public Defender Demands Mikheil Saakashvili’s Involvement in His Trial
Restricting the 3rd President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, from participating in his own trial grossly violates the right to a fair trial enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia and the European Convention.
Mikheil Saakashvili has not been allowed to appear before court three times since his arrest. In all three cases, the Special Penitentiary Service refused to bring Mikheil Saakashvili to court and the court endorsed the refusal without critical deliberation.
The Penitentiary Service named (1) the refusal of a substantial part of treatment by Mikheil Saakashvili and (2) the investigation being carried out by the State Security Service as reasons for refusing to bring the defendant to court.
First of all, it is noteworthy that an abstract reference to the fact that the transfer of the prisoner due to his hunger strike would be a risk to his health cannot be considered as a substantiated argument. This will virtually deprive all prisoners that are on hunger strike of the opportunity to participate in their own judicial proceedings and exercise their right to a fair trial. Moreover, legislation reviews the protocol of action in a similar case and requires that, in case of health risks, the accused be accompanied by a medical worker during transfer.
As for the refusal to transfer Mikheil Saakashvili to court for the so-called security reasons, it is noteworthy that the procedural law does not provide for such an opportunity. The subordinate normative act explicitly and unequivocally states that an accused/convicted person shall be escorted to court at the request of the relevant authorized person of common courts, which does not require additional decision-making.
In addition, legislation does not recognize the possibility for the Penitentiary Service to refuse to transfer an accused person to court due to a pending investigation into any case. It should be noted that the maximum statute of limitations for the investigation carried out by the State Security Service is ten years. This allows the Penitentiary Service to illegally, arbitrarily and permanently refer to the investigation ongoing in the State Security Service, which would be a de facto annulment of the defendant’s right of defence.
In addition, the European Court of Human Rights considers that security issues must be clearly defined and meet the criteria of necessity. Judges should consider all possible alternatives to ensure safety and security and give preferencetoa less strict measureover a stricter one when it can achieve the same purpose. Guarantees of a fair trial and public hearing are considered violated when the domestic court fails to explain why the state security system would not be able to deal with the security risks.
Thus, the Public Defender believes that at this moment there is no proper argument on the basis of which Mikheil Saakashvili should be restricted from appearing before court in person. The position presented by the Special Penitentiary Service cannot outweigh the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia and the European Convention on Human Rights, which among other guarantees includes the right of the accused to personally and directly participate in oral, public hearings, with full observance of the principles of equality of arms, adversarial process and examination of evidence.
The Public Defender calls on the Special Penitentiary Service to properly and conscientiously perform its rights and duties and ensure that Mikheil Saakashvili is brought before court, by providing appropriate guarantees for his health and safety. The Public Defender also calls on the court to give the accused the opportunity to state his position, participate in the examination of evidence and protect his rights within the framework of all three ongoing cases.
 Order No. 149 of the Minister of Corrections of Georgia on the Approval of the Rules for Escorting/Transferring Defendants/Convicts, 19.10.2015, Annex No. 1, Article 37
 Order No. 149 of the Minister of Corrections of Georgia on the Approval of the Rules for Escorting/Transferring Defendants/Convicts, 19.10.2015, Annex No. 1, Article 4, suparagraph 4.
 Part 1 of Article 315, part 3 of Article 12, subparagraph "c" of part 1 of Article 71 of the Criminal Code of Georgia and Article 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia.
 Riepan v. Austria, 35115/97, paragraphs 28-29; Krestovsky v. Russia, 14040/03, paragraph. 29.
 Krestovsky, 29-30; Luchaninova v. Ukraine, 16347/02, 56-57.
Interim measures indicated concerning Georgia
The Court has decided to indicate interim measures in the case of Saakashvili v. Georgia and has asked the Georgian Government to provide it with information on the applicant’s state of health, to guarantee his safety in prison and to provide him with appropriate medical care.
The applicant, Mikheil Saakashvili, is the former President of Georgia. Having been convicted for a number of offences committed while in office, he is currently serving a prison sentence. The applicant claims he is a victim of ‘political persecution’ and has been on hunger strike for 41 days.
Public Defender Visits Mikheil Saakashvili in Medical Establishment No.18 of Penitentiary ServiceTuesday, 09 November 2021 11:27
On November 8, 2021, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria visited third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who was transferred to Medical Establishment No. 18 of the Penitentiary Service, Public Defender reports.
At the meeting, Mikheil Saakashvili told the Public Defender that he had no information about his transfer to Establishment No. 18, as he was informed at Establishment No. 12 that he would be transferred to a multifunctional civil clinic on the basis of the decision of the medical council, which he agreed to.
It should be noted that representatives of the Public Defender's Office visited Establishment No. 12 as well, where they could not find any document about provision of information to Mikheil Saakashvili or his consent relating to his transfer to Establishment No. 18.
Speaking to the Public Defender, Mikheil Saakashvili explained that despite his refusal, he was forcibly placed in Establishment No. 18. The Public Defender's Office immediately informed the State Inspector's Office about the above for the purpose of launching an investigation.
Particular attention should be paid to the environment in which Mikheil Saakashvili is placed, which grossly violates human rights. In particular, insulting and threatening shouts by prisoners of Establishment No. 18 are heard against Mikheil Saakashvili, which can be heard in Saakashvili's cell as well and clearly represents psychological pressure. Upon entering the penitentiary facility, voices of insult were heard by the Public Defender and her representatives. It is highly probable that a similar situation will continue and Mikheil Saakashvili's lawyers and other visitors will be subjected to similar verbal aggression.
The Public Defender has repeatedly stated in her statements that the transfer of the prisoner from Establishment No. 12 to Establishment No. 18 would lead to the disorganization of Establishments Nos. 8 and 18 due to the significant risk of verbal aggression, noise and harassment.
It should be noted that the Public Defender's Office checked the documents on the admission of prisoners to Establishment No. 18, as a result of which it was established that no other inmates of Establishment No. 12, except Mikheil Saakashvili, have been admitted to this facility since January 18, 2021. Information about the period before January 18, 2021 is yet unknown due to the inability to access the special archive at night hours.
Public Defender Checks Readiness of Medical Establishment No.18 for Mikheil Saakashvili’s Admission
On October 24, 2021, Public Defender’s representatives checked the readiness of Medical Facility No. 18 for the possible admission of the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. The inspection revealed that the situation in the facility, in terms of medical care, does not fully comply with the report or recommendations issued by a multifunctional group of doctors on October 23, 2021, and there are also some safety risks.
Representatives of the Public Defender examined the readiness of the facility in terms of provision of the medical services indicated in the report of the multifunctional group of doctors. The report refers to specific medical interventions and the transfer of Mikheil Saakashvili to a medical facility capable of providing the above services.
Interviews with the administration and medical staff of Medical Facility No. 18, as well as inspection of infrastructure and medical equipment, revealed that the facility has the necessary resources to meet the medical needs of prisoners (including hunger strikers). However, the report issued by the multifunctional group of doctors regarding the medical needs of Mikheil Saakashvili directly refers to the need of implementation of certain medical procedures, which, unfortunately, is impossible to be provided in Facility No. 18. For example, the facility cannot provide magnetic resonance imaging, computerizedtomography or duplex scanning. In addition, the facility does not currently have a resuscitationspecialist, but according to the administration, the relevant specialists are expected to be employed in the near future.
The monitoring made it clear that Facility No. 18 will not be able to provide the medical services indicated by the multifunctional group of doctors and Mikheil Saakashvili will need to be transferred to a civil clinic periodically. Given the fact that it is virtually impossible to fully predict changes in the health condition or aggravation of health of the prisoner who has long been on hunger strike, there may be quite severe or irreparable consequences during the patient's transfer in case of a critical change in the situation.
It should be noted that the Public Defender's detailed review of the lack of medical staff and medical services in Facility No. 18 is provided in the 2020 Report of the National Preventive Mechanism.
In addition to medical services, the Public Defender's Office inspected the ward in which Mikheil Saakashvili is planned to be placed in case of his transfer to Facility No. 18. It should be noted that Penitentiary Establishment No. 12 accommodates prisoners who have conflict of interest with other prisoners (former police officers, military servicemen, officials). Consequently, any kind of contact with other prisoners poses security risks that the penitentiary establishment must avoid, otherwise there will be a violation of prisoner's rights.
All the locations, where the third President of Georgia may have to stay/move to (during admission to the facility, placement in a ward, meeting with lawyers or family members, enjoyment of the right to walk, provision of medical care, making telephone calls, daily/hygienic procedures), were checked during the monitoring on October 24, 2021 and it was found out that although the administration of the facility expresses its readiness to ensure the safety of any prisoner, there are certain risks with respect to Mikheil Saakashvili. The infrastructure and environment fail to exclude the risk of verbal aggression and noise, verbal abuse and psychological pressure by certain groups of prisoners. It will also be problematic for visitors to visit Mikheil Saakashvili, as any entrant, including lawyers, will have to walk through the yard of Facility No. 8, close to buildings where other prisoners are placed, which increases the risk of verbal confrontation and abuse. A similar incident was reported at Facility No. 8 in 2015.
Since it is necessary to go through the yard of Facility No. 8 to get to Facility No. 18 and since Facility No. 18 is located close to the residential buildings of Facility No. 8, we believe that there are risks regarding prisoners’ safety and disorganization of these two facilities. These threats may impede the peace of the prisoners and staff of these facilities, the proper functioning and order of the facilities, which will ultimately affect the situation of all prisoners.
In view of all of the above, as well as the report of the multifunctional group of doctors, we believe that the Ministry of Justice/Special Penitentiary Service should select an alternative medical facility, where it will be possible to provide full and adequate medical services and security for the third President of Georgia.
Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia
Public Defender’s Statement on Mikheil Saakashvili's Detention Conditions
The Public Defender's Office has visited the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is placed in Penitentiary Establishment No. 12, several times. We have been observing in detail the state of his health and conditions in the penitentiary establishment. We have intensive communication with the administration of the penitentiary system, as well as medical personnel, regarding Saakashvili’s health condition, with the consent of the latter.
It should be noted that no breaches have been reported so far in terms of provision of living conditions for the third President; adequate attention is paid to him by the medical staff of the penitentiary facility.
At the same time, the Public Defender of Georgia would like to respond to the information spread by the Special Penitentiary Service about Mikheil Saakashvili's health condition (blood pressure, pulse, saturation, glucose) and other personal data (items purchased by him). While it is clear that there is a high public interest in the health condition of the third President of the country, the agency has an obligation to inform the public only within reasonable limits. Health-related information belongs to special category data and its disclosure in detail, without the permission of the person concerned, poses a risk of violation of the law on the one hand and may contribute to the prisoner’s distrust towards the penitentiary system on the other hand, including towards the medical personnel.
The issuance of such statements by the Penitentiary Service or high political officials poses an additional risk that the prisoner, who is on a hunger strike, may also refuse to receive medical care. Therefore, we negatively evaluate any statement that pushes the prisoner to resort to a more severe form of hunger strike and further aggravates his health condition.
The Public Defender's Office will continue to monitor the rights situation of the third President of Georgia and will periodically provide information to the public.
Mikheil Saakashvili calls on Ukraine GovernmentTuesday, 24 January 2017 15:15
The Former President of Georgia calls on Ukraine Government and President Poroshenko not to extradited Georgian officer to Russia. Mikheil Saakashvili made this comment on Facebook. According to him, Giorgi Tsertsvadze was fighting against Russian aggressors in Ukraine and Georgia.
“Giorgi was the instructor of Special Forces in Ukraine. Georgian Government headed by Bidzina Ivanishvili, doesn’t support Georgian volunteers and soldiers involved in Ukraine armed forces. This is a usual practice of Russia and it is also known in Ukraine,”-Mikheil Saakashvili wrote.