TBILISI -- Lawyers for former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili have expressed concerns about his health following his transfer overnight from a military hospital in Gori to a prison in Rustavi.
"I do not know how extreme the situation is following his transportation," defense lawyer Nika Gvaramia told journalists on December 30. "I have to see if the prisoner is alive."
Gvaramia claimed Saakashvili had been "abducted" and that his defense team and relatives had no information about his condition.
Defense lawyers were hoping to meet with Saakashvili at Rustavi prison No. 12 on December 30.
Saakashvili has been in custody since October 1, when he was detained shortly after returning to Georgia from self-imposed exile. He is serving a six-year sentence after being convicted in absentia of abuse of office.
He was transferred to the Gori Military Hospital on November 19 after a 50-day hunger strike to protest his convictions, saying they were politically motivated.
He and his supporters have complained that he has been mistreated and "tortured" while in custody.
On December 18, an independent medical team examined him and ruled that his health had been seriously compromised "as a result of torture, ill-treatment, inadequate medical care, and a prolonged hunger strike."
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on December 28 called on the Georgian authorities to treat Saakashvili, who has Ukrainian citizenship, "with respect," adding that he needs additional medical treatment.