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Georgia's ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili transferred back to prison

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By Josephine Joly
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Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is seen from a defendant's dock during a court hearing in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Dec. 2, 2021.
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is seen from a defendant's dock during a court hearing in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Dec. 2, 2021.   -   Copyright  Irakli Gedenidze / AP

Georgia's ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili was transferred back to prison early Thursday morning after undergoing treatment following a hunger strike, authorities said in a statement.

According to reports, Saakashvili's lawyers were not notified about the transfer back to the prison in Rustavi in advance. 

They alleged that the 54-year-old was returned from the Gori Military Hospital prematurely. 

Nika Gvaramia, one of the attorneys representing Saakashvili, said his client was "no longer communicative and could not move on his own", according to Georgian news agency Interpress News.

Gvaramia said at a press conference that Saakashvili was wheelchair-bound and appeared "weakened, stupefied with sleeping pills." 

Lawyers for the former leader had previously expressed concern for his health following his arrest in Tbilisi on October 1.

Georgia's Special Penitentiary Service said in a statement that Saakashvili was transferred back to prison "in full compliance with the law." 

After the transfer to Rustavi, Saakashvili was visited by his lawyers, including Gvaramia.

Riot police and water cannons were deployed outside the 12th Prison in Rustavi on Thursday morning after a small number of Saakashvili's supporters gathered outside.

Saakashvili is currently serving a six-year prison term for abuse of power during his rule as President from 2004 to 2013, and faces three similar criminal cases.

Additional sources • ANADOLU