By 577 votes pro, 33 con and 26 abstained, the European Parliament on Wednesday approved the draft resolution on the situation of the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.
The amendment initiated by the European People’s Party (EPP) has been added today to the consolidated project, which mentions Georgia’s former Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
According to the new amendment, “European Parliament underlines the fundamental role that oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili has played in Saakashvili’s ongoing detention as part of a personal vendetta. Therefore, reiterates its call on the Council and democratic partners to consider imposing sanctions on Ivanishvili for his role in the deterioration of the political process in Georgia”.
According to the resolution, EP considers that the treatment of prisoners, such as former President Saakashvili, is a litmus test of the Georgian government’s commitment to European values and its declared European aspirations, including EU candidate status.
The resolution calls on the Georgian authorities to release Saakashvili and allow him to receive proper medical treatment abroad.
MEPs urge current President Salome Zourabichvili to use her constitutional right to pardon him to reduce the political polarisation in the country.
MEPs remind the Georgian authorities that they have a responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of Saakashvili, to provide him with adequate medical treatment, and to respect his fundamental rights and personal dignity in line with the country’s constitution and international commitment.
EP also calls on the European Council and the Commission to become more actively involved in securing the release of Mikheil Saakashvili and enabling him to receive proper medical treatment abroad. It also underlines the fact that the continuing failure to improve the situation of former President Mikheil Saakashvili will continue to damage Georgia’s reputation and hamper its European Union candidacy prospects.
The document underscores that the continued detention of Mikheil Saakashvili only deepens the rift between the government and opposition in the already polarised political climate in Georgia and erodes public trust in democratic institutions. It emphasizes that the case of Mikheil Saakashvili further highlights the importance of implementing genuine reform of the justice system.
EP calls on the European External Action Service and the Commission to continue to systematically monitor Mikheil Saakashvili’s court hearings, both those on the charges brought against him and those on his request to be transferred abroad and instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the President, Government and Parliament of Georgia.