Rati Bregadze: “The Strasbourg Court did not accede to Saakashvili’s complaint to be transferred to a civilian clinic and demanded hiss calling off his hunger strike.”
Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Rati Bregadze’s statement is a MANIPULATION.
Resume: On 10 November 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECRH) published its decision on an interim measure in regard to the transfer of the ex-President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to a civilian clinic.
In the decision, the ECHR did not provide an opinion about Mikheil Saakashvili’s transfer to a civilian clinic and at this stage confined itself by requiring information from both parties by 24 November 2021. Therefore, the claim that the Strasbourg Court did not accede to the demand vis-à-vis the transfer to a private clinic is a manipulation, especially given the fact that the Court is currently at the stage of information collection and processing, and will make its decision in the near future after receiving the required information.
On 10 November 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECRH) published its decision on an interim measure in regard to the transfer of the ex-President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to a civilian clinic.
As part of the interim measure mechanism, the ECHR obliged the Government of Georgia to inform it of the prisoner’s state of health and ensure his safety in prison whilst also urging Mr Saakashvili to call off his hunger strike.
In addition, the Court decided to give priority to this case.
The ruling reads: “On 10 November 2021, the Court decided in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it to urged the applicant (Mikheil Saakashvili) to call off his hunger strike.
The Court further decided that the government should inform it of the applicant’s current state of health (as well as medical treatment dispensed in the prison hospital), that they should ensure his safety in prison in general and should provide him with appropriate medical care for the post-hunger strike recovery period.”
The Minister of Justice of Georgia, Rati Bregadze, commented on this decision with his Facebook publication. According to the Minister’s clarification, the Strasbourg Court did not accede to Mikheil Saakashvili’s complaint on his transfer to a private clinic and demanded that he call off his hunger strike.
Of note is that in the decision, the ECHR did not provide an opinion about Mikheil Saakashvili’s transfer to a civilian clinic and at this stage confined itself by requiring information from both parties by 24 November 2021. Therefore, the claim that the Strasbourg Court did not accede to the demand vis-à-vis the transfer to a private clinic is a manipulation, especially given the fact the Court is currently at the stage of information collection and processing, and will make its decision in the near future after receiving the required information.
In addition, it is also wrong to interpret the urging of the Strasbourg Court on calling off the hunger strike as if it demanded/obliged Mikheil Saakashvili to cease his hunger strike with this decision. This interpretation is legally absurd in the first place and leaves an impression that the applicant breaks the law by being on a hunger strike. Therefore, it is only natural that the ECHR would urge the prisoner on a hunger strike to call it off (although being on a hunger strike is a human right) for the sake of his life and health. The ECHR has such precedents in practice and its urging to the end of a hunger strike can be seen in numerous rulings of the Strasbourg Court (link 1 and link 2).
Finally, it is necessary to highlight the fact that as early as few days ago, the Minister of Justice was saying that Mikheil Saakashvili was taking non-medical food whilst the Strasbourg Court demanded that he call off his hunger strike on 10 November 2021. In addition to Rati Bregadze’s comment, many authorities claimed that Saakashvili is not on a hunger strike and that it was “fake.” In this light, it should be interesting for the ruling party representatives as to why the Strasbourg Court urges the ex-President to call of his hunger strike if he is not actually on a hunger strike.
The decision of the Strasbourg Court on interim measures was followed by divergent interpretations among the public. As stated by the Director of Mtavari Channel, Nika Gvaramia, defendants are satisfied with this decision and now it is the government’s turn which should keep this process within the legal boundaries and execute it. Mr Gvaramia stated: “Saakashvili’s complaint was not only about his transfer to a private clinic. It was our idea that it was possible to ensure this in a private clinic as opposed to Gldani prison where it is impossible to ensure this. The Strasbourg Court ruled as it was highly expected to rule. It did not specify a clinic but highlighted a standard which should be ensured.”
One of the founders and Associate Professor of the Social Justice Centre, Tamta Mikeladze, believes that the European Court’s supervision is important in order to ensure Mikheil Saakashvili’s rights and safety and to prevent political speculations around the issue. Ms Mikeladze wrote in her Facebook publication: “When it comes disputes about imprisonment conditions, this is a standard condition of an interim measure when the Court starts to study the issue by receiving information. This is already a supervision stage. This means that the imprisonment and treatment (including medical treatment) process is now under the supervision of the ECHR and obviously if there is such ground, the Court may give different types of instructions to the government. This may include that the government should ensure proper medical treatment and transfer to another clinic. However, this will be verified on the basis of documents and evidence.”
Nika Simonishvili, the Head of GYLA, also commented on the decision of the Strasbourg Court and stated that he does not understand the joy of the Minister of Justice about the Strasbourg Court’s decision vis-à-vis Mikheil Saakashvili’s case since it is an interim decision. Mr Simonishvili also stated that this is not what Mr Saakashvili’s lawyers requested, although this does not mean that their request was not granted because the Court will make its final verdict on the issue after receiving the additional information.
Mr Simonishvili wrote: “Therefore, I cannot understand the joy of the Minister of Justice since we cannot consider this letter as a refusal to grant the request. This is an interim decision until the final ruling of the temporary measure is made.”