Georgia's jailed and ailing ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili said Tuesday, March 4, he will urge Europe's top rights court for help to receive medical treatment in Poland.
Doctors say Saakashvili, 55, risks death from a number of conditions he developed in custody. The pro-Western reformer has been in custody since his return from exile in Ukraine in 2021.
Georgian president from 2004 to 2013, Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia to six years in jail for abuse of power -- a charge he has rejected as trumped-up and politically motivated.
In a letter to AFP on Tuesday, Saakashvili said he "will turn in the coming days to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg so that I am allowed to be taken to a hospital in Poland".
Doctors say he has lost over 50 kilograms (110 pounds) in prison.
The government "is not allowing Polish doctors to visit me in hospital" in Tbilisi, he said, adding that it was his "last chance to survive".
In March, an EU diplomat confirmed to AFP that a decision has been taken to allow Polish doctors to examine Saakashvili but the plan did not materialize.
Georgia's Justice Minister Rati Bregadze has said Saakashvili's lawyers failed to submit a formal request, a claim they deny.
A council of doctors set up by Georgia's rights ombudsman has said it was "impossible to treat Saakashvili in Georgia and the decision is to be taken to send him for treatment abroad."
US-based doctors have said Saakashvili's health had deteriorated as a result of "torture" in custody.
US toxicologist David Smith said in 2022 that tests had revealed Saakashvili had been exposed to poisoning by heavy metals while in prison.
Doctors have said his health has significantly declined well after he ended a 50-day hunger strike to protest his detention.
The United States, European Union and international rights groups have expressed concerns over Saakashvili's reported mistreatment in custody and denounced his prosecution on allegedly political grounds.
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