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Former Georgian president Saakashvili ends hunger strike after 50 days

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Former Georgian president and opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili ended his hunger strike after 50 days following his transfer from the prison clinic to a military hospital.

His doctor reported it. The opposition leader had launched the protest after being arrested on 1 October on returning home from exile in Ukraine, denouncing a “political” move by the Tbilisi authorities.

On Thursday, the 53-year-old had fainted and doctors warned that his life was in danger. Faced with requests to transfer him to a hospital, the authorities initially refused but then agreed, but moved him to a military facility in Gori, 50 km from Tbilisi.

“He is still in danger of life and has been hospitalized in intensive care,” said his doctor, Nokoloz Kipshidze, specifying that operations to restart feeding him will begin later in the day.

Saakashvili said he will never accept his “illegal detention” but is ready to stand before “a fair trial, accepting any verdict”.

In 2018 he was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison for “abuse of office”, which he rejected as politically motivated. The arrest of the former president has exacerbated the political crisis in the country, already in tension after last year’s elections, which were denounced by the opposition as fraudulent and against which there were mass demonstrations, the largest in a decade.

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