DRI: Release of footage containing Mikheil Saakashvili's personal data is degrading

On December 14, 2022, the Special Penitentiary Service released footage containing Mikheil Saakashvili's personal data. The footage shows different periods of Saakashvili's stay in the hospital (in some episodes, the dates are indicated), where the damaged physical health and psychological condition of the prisoner are clearly visible.

The Democracy Research Institute notes that the basis for considering information about the person's health as a special category of personal data lies in the fact that the disclosure of this category of information is degrading and humiliating. Accordingly, citing the high public interest as a pretext for publicizing the footage by the State Penitentiary Service cannot be a legitimate basis for the dissemination of Saakashvili's personal information to the extent that resulted in the violation of his personal dignity.

It should also be taken into account that the representatives of the Georgian authorities announced the release of the footage in advance, and openly stated that the disclosure of the prisoner's personal data was motivated by political goals, to fulfill the partisan tasks of the Georgian Dream.

The highest officials are trying to manipulate public sentiments, they call Mikheil Saakashvili's health condition a "simulation", a "lie". Taking into account that the State Penitentiary Service asked the court for a one-month period to familiarize with the medical examinations and conclusions about Mikheil Saakashvili, it is not clear on what basis the politicians, who do not have relevant medical qualifications, evaluate the health condition of the prisoner. In a situation when the relevant state agency, by its own words, does not have complete or detailed information about Saakashvili's health condition, but at the same time, high officials make evaluative statements about Saakashvili's health condition, it is obvious that these statements are speculative, subjective and politically motivated.

The release of audio and video materials containing personal data has become a tool of political retribution in Georgia over the years. It is alarming that the Government of Georgia, instead of investigating such crimes, ignores the most important thing - respect for human dignity - and violates the right to privacy.

The Democracy Research Institute calls on:

The Government of Georgia

  • To reject the illegitimate and degrading methods of dealing with political opponents, which are incompatible with the democratic political system.
  • To consider the medical reports issued by Georgian and foreign doctors and take all relevant steps only in the interest of protecting Mikheil Saakashvili's life and health.