Demanding Saakashvili’s Transfer to Civil Hospital, Khoshtaria Begins Hunger Strike

Accusing the Georgian Dream authorities of taking “sadistic and cynical revenge” against jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, Elene Khoshtaria of opposition Droa party said today she will be hunger striking in the Parliament unless hunger-striking Saakashvili is transferred to a civilian hospital.

The development comes as the government keeps insisting on transferring Saakashvili, on hunger strike since his detention on October 1, to prison hospital if his condition worsens. The former President, his lawyers, doctor and the Public Defender reject the idea, citing multiple risks, and demand his transfer to civilian clinic.

“It is unfortunate, that we live in the country of 21st century, where institutions are cancelled and captured, and we are forced to fight with such extreme measures,” Khoshtaria noted.

The opposition leader, who formally remains MP, pointed out she will be on a hunger strike in the building of the Parliament, an institution “which I did not enter and I do not recognize.” Khoshtaria said she will only consume water.

Khoshtaria is one of the only two elected opposition MPs – alongside Labor party’s Shalva Natelashvili – that did not enter the legislature following the post-parliamentary-election crisis and parliamentary boycott of 2020-2021.

She was elected to the Parliament in the 2020 parliamentary polls, through the European Georgia party list. Khoshtaria quit the opposition outfit in December, and founded a new political movement – Droa! – in March 2021.

In the 2021 local polls, the Droa party received 2.14% of votes in Tbilisi, falling short of the 2.5% threshold needed to enter the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo). Khoshtaria also ran as a Sakrebulo majoritarian candidate for Gldani, backed by the United National Movement, Girchi – More Freedom and European Georgia parties. She garnered 31.17% of votes, losing to the Georgian Dream contender.

Ahead of the runoffs, UNM’s Tbilisi Mayoral hopeful Nika Melia named Khoshtaria as the Deputy Mayoral hopeful for Tbilisi, alongside other opposition leaders.

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