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Georgian authorities have barred Saakashvili from making phone calls from jail for a week already – lawyer

TBILISI. Oct 12 (Interfax) – The Georgian authorities are seeking to isolate former President Mikheil Saakashvili by not allowing him to make telephone calls from prison, Saakashvili’s lawyer said.

"We’ve received an official response [to a request for telephone calls for Saakashvili], which says virtually nothing with the exception of a single abstract phrase saying that Mikheil Saakashvili might affect the criminal cases opened against him through telephone calls, which is absolutely absurd," lawyer Dimitri Sadzaglishvili told journalists on Tuesday.

"In essence, the objective pursued by the authorities is to make sure that Mikheil Saakashvili is totally isolated and unable to communicate with the public," Sadzaglishvili said.

Meanwhile, another lawyer for Saakashvili said that his state of health has worsened, and he is finding it difficult to move and speak.

"Mikheil Saakashvili is having problems moving. His legs have swollen. It’s difficult for him to speak, which indicates the effect of his hunger strike," lawyer Beka Basilaya told journalists.

Basilaya insisted on allowing Saakashvili’s personal doctor Nikoloz Kipshidze to visit his client in jail. Kipshidze was barred from visiting the former president on Monday, he said.

Basilaya told journalists on October 5 that prosecutors had decided to ban Saakashvili from making calls from jail.

Saakashvili, former Georgian president and currently a citizen of Ukraine, secretly arrived in Georgia from Ukraine on September 29. He was detained in Tbilisi on October 1 and is currently being held in a Rustavi prison.

Georgia earlier declared Saakashvili wanted as a person convicted in absentia in several criminal cases and treated as a suspect in some others. The Georgian authorities warned repeatedly that he would be detained immediately after he crossed the border. Saakashvili has described his detention as unlawful and the charges brought against him as falsified. He has declared a hunger strike.