The Tbilisi City Court is trying the illegal border crossing case of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili in his absence. Saakashvili’s mother, Giuli Alasania, and his lawyers expected the ex-president to attend the hearing.
“I was sure that Misha had to come here. I came, so many people came, and he was not there. I know nothing,” Alasania told the media outlets.
Amid the ongoing trial, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria visited Saakashvili at the Vivamed Clinic. She says the ex-president’s health has “sharply deteriorated, which is visually noticeable.”
“He has lost a lot of weight. The doctors confirmed he neither stands up nor walks. The doctor says that, especially since the beginning of October, his health has been declining,” Lomjaria stated after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the United National Movement (UNM) party, founded by Saakashvili, is preparing for the leadership race. The incumbent leader Nika Melia stressed the need to root out informal, i.e. shadow governance not only in the country but in any political opposition party.
“The UNM will gain more voters soon. I think, this process started completely out of place, with poor forms and no context when Mikheil Saakashvili’s process was the primary focus. It’s crucial that the party emerges from this process greatly strengthened and that a deserving candidate prevails,” Melia said.
His comments come after Zurab Chiaberashvili, a former UNM member, said he wouldn’t rule out running for leadership. Melia asserts that “anyone has the right to participate in the process” and hopes that the UNM voters will make “a thoughtful choice.”