Public Defender creates group to monitor Saakashvili medical services –

Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria installation today a group of nine experts to monitor the medical services provided by the state to the imprisoned ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, currently hospitalized in the prison hospital of Gldani # 18.

The expert group will also assess whether the prison clinic is adequate to protect Saakashvili’s health and whether appropriate medical services will be available at the facility if the ex-president calls off his hunger strike.

The group includes eight visiting doctors, as well as a medical doctor employed by the Office of the Public Defender. The list of invited specialists includes an anesthesiologist, a specialist in internal diseases, a cardiologist, a hematologist, an infectious disease specialist, a neurologist and an endocrinologist.

The Public Defender regretted that since Saakashvili’s transfer to the prison clinic, the council of doctors who monitored his health in Rustavi # 12 penitentiary had not been allowed to visit the hospitalized inmate.

Mediator Lomjaria said she would grant special powers to the newly created panel of experts that would allow them to visit Saakashvili and also inspect the prison clinic.

The press release stressed, however, that the “Public Defender cannot and will not replace the responsibility of the State for the care of the detainee and his health”.

The development comes as Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia noted that because Saakashvili was hospitalized, the work of the medical council was no longer necessary. She added that if necessary, the prison clinic could also invite experts from private hospitals.

The personal doctor of the former president, Nikoloz Kipsidze noted on the night of November 15 to 16 that he waited about five hours before being allowed to visit Saakashvili at the prison clinic, to be refuse because of his delay.

Meanwhile, the previous visitor, United National Movement MP Tina Bokuchava noted the penitentiary employees delayed her to leave the premises, supposedly to use it as a reason to then refuse the visit of Kipsidze.

Saakashvili has been on a hunger strike since his arrest on October 1. Authorities transferred him to the prison hospital on November 8. against his will. Saakashvili, his family, his doctor and his lawyers had repeatedly rejected the option, and the council of doctors monitoring the detainee’s health had also recommended the transfer of the ex-president to a multi-profile civilian hospital.

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