Ukrainian president urges Georgian authorities to release former leader Saakashvili

Ukrainian president urges Georgian authorities to release former leader Saakashvili

'Mikheil Saakashvili is being slowly killed,' Volodymyr Zelenskyy says on Twitter

By Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged authorities in Georgia to release former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a Ukrainian citizen serving a six-year sentence for abuse of power.

"Mikheil Saakashvili is being slowly killed. The very fact that we still have to fight against such an attempt at de facto public execution of a person in Europe in the 21st century is a disgrace,” Zelenskyy said on Twitter on Wednesday.

He urged Georgian authorities to remember their obligations under European human rights protection norms, stop the “abuse” and set him free from detention.

“Ukraine offered solutions. I urge the world to help save Mikheil's life and prevent his execution,” Zelenskyy added.

Saakashvili was the president of Georgia between 2004 and 2013. His Georgian citizenship was revoked in 2015.

A Georgian court sentenced Saakashvili to six years in prison for two separate cases of abuse of power as the head of state.

His medical team says his health has worsened significantly since he went to prison in October 2021, after being arrested while secretly returning to Georgia from eight years in exile, and has staged repeated hunger strikes to protest his imprisonment.

Saakashvili continues to be under trial for three separate cases and has participated in hearings via videoconference due to his ailing health.​​​​​​​

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