The way that former President Mikheil Sakashvili (pictured) was treated by the MEPs is a test of the Georgian government’s commitment to European values. Plenary Session
On Wednesday (15 February), Parliament expressed its concern about Mikheil Saakashvili’s health. He has been held in Georgia since October 2021. MEPs note reports about his drastic weight loss and the possibility that he may have been poisoned by heavy metals while detained. They call on the Georgian authorities for Saakashvili’s release and allow him to seek proper medical treatment abroad. They call on current President Salome Zourabichvili, to exercise her constitutional right to pardon. This would reduce political polarization in the country.
A litmus-test of Georgia’s respect for European Values
MEPs insist that the country’s progress in European reforms should be reintroduced to the center of politics. MEPs also believe that Georgia’s treatment of prisoners, like the ex-President is a test for its commitment to European values. This includes the declarations of European aspirations and status. Georgia has not yet been granted this status.
MEPs remind Georgian authorities of their responsibility to Mr Saakashvili’s health and well-being, and to provide him with appropriate medical treatment.
To respect his personal dignity and fundamental rights, in accordance with the constitution of the country and international obligations.
The resolution also highlights the central role played by Bidzina, an oligarch, in Mr Saakashvili being held on “personal vendetta”. The Parliament calls on the Council and democratic allies to reconsider imposing sanctions against Mr Ivanishvili in light of his role in the “deterioration” of the political process in Georgia.
Text was approved with 577 votes for, 33 against and 26 abstentions.
When Mikheil Saakashvili returned to Georgia in 2021, Georgian police arrested him. In absentia, he was sentenced by a national court in 2018 to six years imprisonment for abuse of power during his presidency. According to his supporters, the charges were politically motivated and pushed forward by the Georgian Dream party that currently controls the government in Georgia.
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