Polish parlamentarians appeal for Saakashvili release

On Thursday thousands of Georgians demonstrated for Saakashvili's release in the country's capital Tbilisi. Zurab Kurtsikidze/PAP/EPA

Polish parlamentarians have asked the EU and the Council of Europe to intervene with the Georgian authorities for the release of the country's former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who was arrested and imprisoned in Georgia on October 1.

Saakashvili, Georgia's president from 2004 to 2013 and currently a Ukrainian citizen, was detained by Georgian authorities after arriving in the country to canvass support for a local election on the following day.

The former president is to answer power abuse charges brought against him during his absence from Georgia, and for which he has received an in absentia six-year prison term. Saakashvili has said that the charges and the sentence were politically motivated.

In their appeal to EU human rights representative Eamon Gilmore and Council of Europe human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatovic, the Polish MPs asked for both bodies to engage themselves in bringing about Saakashvili's release.

They also noted that the former president, who has been on a hunger strike in a Georgian prison for nearly two weeks, has been reported to be suffering from deteriorating health.

"We appeal to the commissioner and the special representative to undertake urgent steps to... enable the immediate release (of Mikheil Saakashvili - PAP)... we are deeply concerned about the ex-president's health, which according to his doctors has deteriorated considerably since he launched a hunger strike," the appeal read.

They also wrote that Georgia's treatment of Saakashvili could jeopardise its EU membership ambitions.

On Thursday, thousands of Georgians demonstrated for Saakashvili's release in the country's capital, Tbilisi.

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