(Reuters) – Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili will be offered a transfer from prison to a private clinic for a medical check-up, news agencies quoted the justice ministry as saying on Tuesday, after staging two hunger strikes since October.
Saakashvili, 54, was jailed last year after returning from abroad, having been convicted in absentia of abusing his office during his 2004-2013 presidency – charges he rejects as politically motivated.
In written answers to Reuters’ questions last month, Saakashvili said he was seeking “urgent medical help” for what he said was ill-treatment in prison, something the Georgian authorities have denied.
Georgia’s public ombudsman said last week his condition had deteriorated significantly and that he needed prompt medical care.
Georgia’s Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said on Tuesday he would approve the transfer of Saakashvili to a medical facility in the capital Tbilisi for a check-up, the TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies reported.
Saakashvili’s family and supporters have requested that he be permitted to travel abroad for medical treatment.
His arrest triggered protests in the former Soviet republic and the U.S. State Department has urged Georgia to ensure a fair trial and the provision of independent medical treatment.
(Reporting by Jake Cordell in London, editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones)