European MPs say Merabishvili’s detention is politically motivated
By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, July 18
Members of the European Parliament's Defense and Security Committee, Arno Denzhan and Krzysztof Lisek, visited Former Prime Minister of Georgia, Vano Merabishvili in prison on July 17.
After the meeting with Merabishvili, Members of the European Parliament expressed their concerns over the conditions the former Interior Minister is kept in and the motivation behind his arrest.
MP Lisek had the impression that the case of Merabishvili is politically motivated. He does not see any other reason for keeping Merabishvili in preliminary detention, other than those that Lisek says, are “politically motivated”.
"I visited Mr. Merabishvili 6 weeks ago. He was waiting for a doctor's visit for a long time. The family issue also remains unsolved. I think it will be good if he is given the possibility to see his family members. There is the impression that the case of Merabishvili is politically motivated,” he said after leaving the detention center.
European MPs say Merabishvili is restricted in communications and he has no contact with his family or outside world. “He does not have the opportunity to meet with his family members. He has no communication with the outside world,” Denzhan said after the meeting with the former Interior Minister.
“I hope that the court will be free. I'm not sure that the arrest was justified. We had a very productive conversation with Merabishvili. It is regrettable that he does not have the opportunity to meet with his family members. He has no communication with the outside world, with the exception of visits from members of the European Parliament,” Arno Denzhan said.
According to United National Movement (UNM) this was not the only occasion when European MPs visited Merabishvili. Vice President of the European Parliament, Jacek Protasiewicz, visited him on July 11 and also a telephone conversation took place between European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule and Merabishvili on July 12.
The UNM released a special statement and thanked European MPs and EU Commissioner Stefan Fule for their interest in Merabishvili’s case. The party is sure that the interest of the EU delegation expressed to Merabishvili is proof that Europe sees his detention to be a politically motivated action.
Minister of Corrections, and Legal Assistance of Georgia, Sozar Subari disagrees with the MPs and says all detainees are kept in equal conditions. He said Merabishvili has as much contact with the outside world as any other prisoner has. According to the minister, the prison is not a “hotel” and the legislation sets special rules and restrictions for prisoners to use the phone or any other facilities in the detention center.