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Saakashvili demands setting up special tribunal to hear cases opened against him – lawyer

TBILISI. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is demanding that a special tribunal be instituted to hear the criminal cases opened against him, lawyer Nika Gvaramia said after visiting Saakashvili at a hospital in Gori on Wednesday.

"It’s understandable that the constitution doesn’t envision the establishment of a special court, and yet, in Saakashvili’s opinion, a special judicial format trusted by both the incumbent authorities and himself could still be set up," Gvaramia said.

Despite health problems, Saakashvili is willing to attend open judicial proceedings against him at the Tbilisi City Court on Monday, November 29, he said.

Speaking of Saakashvili’s health condition, Gvaramia said that, owing to doctors’ efforts, the ex-president’s physical recovery has begun; however, problems related to his mental status have come to the foreground now.

"These problems are obvious in Saakashvili, and they have affected his speech, communication, and gait. Unlike physical recovery, mental recovery is going hard," Gvaramia said.

Saakashvili has composed an address to his supporters, which will be posted on social media soon, he said.

Saakashvili, former Georgian president and currently a citizen of Ukraine, secretly arrived in Georgia on September 29 and was detained in Tbilisi on October 1 and put in jail in the city of Rustavi soon afterwards, where he declared a hunger strike. On November 8, he was transferred to the prison infirmary in Tbilisi’s Gldani district without the consent of his lawyers and family. On November 20, Saakashvili was transferred to a military hospital in Gori, where he stopped his hunger strike.

Saakashvili has been convicted in Georgia in absentia in several criminal cases and is being treated as a suspect in some others. He has described his detention as unlawful and the charges brought against him as falsified.