Georgia: Hunger-striking Saakashvili passes out in prison

A lawyer for imprisoned former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been on a hunger strike for seven weeks, says he fell and lost consciousness at the end of the lawyer's visit

MOSCOW -- Georgia's imprisoned former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been on a hunger strike for seven weeks, fell and lost consciousness Thursday, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Beka Basilaia said he had been visiting Saakashvili in prison when he collapsed. Basilaia said he was taken from the visiting room on a stretcher and that his condition is stable.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said U.S. officials are closely following the treatment of Saakashvili.

“We commend the oversight work of the Georgian Public Defender in establishing an independent medical team to evaluate Mr. Saakashvili’s health and to review the state of medical facilities at the prison hospital,” said Price in a statement. “We urge the Government of Georgia to treat Mr. Saakashvili fairly and with dignity, as well as to heed the Public Defender’s recommendations about appropriate treatment.”