TBILISI, DFWatch–The former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili was rushed to a prison hospital in Tbilisi Monday evening, reportedly due to a deteriorating health condition after being on a hunger strike for 39 days.
Saakashvili had been held in Rustavi penitentiary since October 1, when he was arrested after returning to his home country for the first time since leaving office in 2013. He was rushed to Gldani prison hospital after apparently suffering a rapidly deteriorating health condition.
Also on Monday, supporters of the former president rallied in central Tbilisi demanding his release and early parliamentary elections, while the government is stepping up security around the parliament building and Gldani prison, where the former president is currently detained.
“Prisoner Mikheil Saakashvili has been transferred from the 12th [Rustavi] Penitentiary to the Medical Institution for N18 [Gldani] Penitentiary in order to prevent deteriorating health conditions and increased threats,” the Penitentiary Service said in a statement issued late Monday.
Saakashvili’s mother, Giuli Alasania, said the ex-president was “rushed somewhere” and that relatives did not know his whereabouts for several hours.
“I have information that a council of doctors has convened and it has issued a written statement prescribing [Saakashvili] to be taken to a multi-purpose hospital. In the meantime, ignoring everything, they took him in front of us and rushed him somewhere. Two armored cars passed by and a helicopter flew over us. We have been waiting since 2 pm and we have no answer, there is no person, they took him away,” Giuli Alasania told journalists on Monday evening.
Earlier, Saakashvili’s personal doctor Nikoloz Kipshidze said that the doctors’ council had decided to transfer Saakashvili to a multi-purpose medical facility.
“We had a council, which unanimously decided to transfer the patient to a multi-purpose medical facility. The situation now is worse than yesterday,” said Nikoloz Kipshidze.
A water cannon and several fire engines are currently parked outside Gldani prison medical facility, where Saakashvili is being held. Additional police forces are being mobilized around the prison facility, which lies in the far north of Tbilisi, as well as around the parliament building in the center of the Georgian capital.