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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Jailed Georgian ex-president to end 7-week hunger strike

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A lawyer for Mikheil Saakashvili said on Friday that the imprisoned former Georgian president has agreed to end a seven-week hunger strike that has caused him neurological damage.

Nika Gvaramia also said Saakashvili has agreed to be transferred from a prison clinic to a military hospital, an offer the country’s government made hours earlier after persistent calls for him to be moved to a regular hospital for better care.

His supporters have repeatedly held protests, including one outside the parliament in the capital Tbilisi on Friday, denouncing Saakashvili’s arrest and calling for him to be given better treatment.

On Thursday, Saakashvili fell and lost consciousness at the end of a visit with a lawyer in prison.

The national ombudsman’s office said the fall was due to a condition called Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which is caused by vitamin-B deficiency and can result in vision and motor problems.

Saakashvili, who was president from 2008-13, left Georgia for Ukraine after the end of his second term and was later convicted in absentia of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison. He was arrested on Oct. 1 after returning to Georgia to try to bolster opposition forces in the run-up to nationwide municipal elections.

He announced his hunger strike hours after being arrested.

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