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Former Georgian President Saakashvili moved to prison hospital amid hunger strike

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By Euronews  with AP
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 Georgian Police officers escort former President Mikheil Saakashvili after he was arrested in Rustavi, Georgia, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Georgian Police officers escort former President Mikheil Saakashvili after he was arrested in Rustavi, Georgia, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.   -   Copyright  Georgian Interior Ministry Press Service via AP, FILE

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was transported to a prison hospital, the country's penitentiary service has announced.

Saakashvili, who is on a hunger strike, was transferred "to prevent the deterioration of his health condition," the prison services wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.

The former president's lawyer said on Monday that he was no longer accepting medical treatment and medicine during his ongoing hunger strike in prison.

"His condition is unstable and medical staff says it might become critical at any time," Dimitry Sadzaglishvili told The Associated Press.

According to Sadzaglishivli, Saakashvili intensified his strike, which began on October 1, after claims he had been consuming cereal and fruit juices made by Justice Minister Rati Bregadze.

Following Bregadze's comment, Georgia's Public Defender ombudsman issued a statement saying the former president had not received any food.

Over the weekend, hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the prison where Saakashvili is jailed in support of the country's former president who was arrested in early October.

Opposition politician Khatia Dekanoidze had called for him to be brought to a private clinic instead of a medical centre in the prison system where she said his "physical security" would be at risk.

He had been convicted in absentia of abuse of power during his 2004-2013 presidency and had returned to the country ahead of local elections to boost support for the opposition.