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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 25
TV-debates between candidates of GPB Board of Trustees scheduled

Debates between candidates for the candidates of membership of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) Board of Trustees will be broadcasted by the Second Channel on December 24. Debates will be recorded in the Real Area studio. Presenter of the debates will be the Head Producer of the Second Channel Dodo Shonava.

According to the program presenter, Board of Trustees membership candidates will be divided in 5-6 member groups in alphabetical order. Approximately 1 hour will be given to each of the group. During the debates each of the candidates will be able to speak about their vision of GPB development and answer three questions asked by presenter.

Debates will be recorded and will be aired upon completion of Parliament session (at approximately 9 p.m.) 24 December.

Competition Commission is obliged to organize debates between candidates by the Law on Broadcasting. By the law debates must be broadcasted by the GPB. (Media.Ge)

Merabishvili leaves trial in protest

Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili has left the trial in protest after a judge did not satisfy his request. Merabishvili petitioned Judge Khatuna Kharchilava to commission the prison ministry to present the court with the video footage which shows how he was taken out of prison. The judge did not satisfy Merabishvili’s request.

According to the former PM, the video footage is evidence, which proves that pressure had been exerted on him.

"Everyone believes in my statements now due to the government's reaction, which has not started an investigation two weeks after I made the statement. The whole Georgian Dream is involved in this process," he said.

In addition, Merabishvili thanked NGOs. "They had been my opponents for years, but now the NGOs have to recognize the violation of the law, and I welcome it," he said. (InterPressNews)

Saakashvili among 30 Georgians declared persona-non-grata in Ukraine

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and 29 citizens of Georgia have been declared persona-non-grata by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and the Security Service, Ukrainian reports.

“Frequent visits of foreign PR technologies and protest specialists to Ukraine cause a reasonable fear that they face a threat to national security. By having consultations with the opposition, the above-mentioned persons may realize other countries’ political interests in Ukraine,” says the letter sent by Ukrainian MP Oleg Tsarev to the Head of the Security Service and the Foreign Minister of Ukraine.

German political expert Andreas Umland and 5 US citizens are also on the so-called Tsarev’s list. (InterPressNews)

Venice Commission recommends on full decriminalization for illegally entering the occupied territories

The entry into occupied territories of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia for foreign citizens from the areas other than Georgian-controlled territories will not be the subject of criminal punishment but the administrative penalties.

Venice Commission issued the opinion on the draft that welcomed the full decriminalization of sanctions for the violation of the rules regarding entry into the occupied territories.

"Amending the administrative code accordingly would have provided even more flexibility and would have encouraged the engagement policy with the occupied territories,” reads the Venice Commission’s opinion on the draft for amendments to the law on the Occupied Territories of Georgia.

According to proposed bill, passed with first reading by the Parliament, in the first case of violation of the rule should outline administrative punishment, instead of criminal responsibility, in the form of a 400 GEL fine. In case of a repeat violation of this rule by the same person, sanctions under the criminal code will have to apply, but sanction will again be a financial penalty in an amount of not less than 800 GEL.

In particular, imprisonment should only apply in case of repeat violation of this rule only if this crime is committed in aggravated circumstances such as in group, with use of force or threat of force. In such cases, a term of imprisonment, according to the bill, should be one year, instead of the current prison term of three to five years.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party lawmakers are against the law and did not vote for the first reading. (Agenda.Ge)

Ex-head of the State Audit Office demands investigation

Former chairman of the State Audit Office, Sulkhan Molashvili appeals to the investigative bodies to start investigation against the former head of the Security Council Giga Bokeria and the former prosecutor of Tbilisi city Valeri Grigalashvili.

Molashvili said, Bokeria and Grigalashvili were directly involved in the process of his torture and hopes the government will start an investigation of such issues.

"If they will not do so, then this government will lose the battle for the next elections,” Molashvili said.

The former chairman of the State Audit Office also speaks about the crime by the former Minister of Justice.

"I was isolated in the basement of the N7 prison. They did not give me the Bible, candles, tobacco, personal care items. I had no tooth brush and they also turned off the lights. I have been sitting in the absolute darkness. The fact that Vano Merabishvili being in a prison now criticized he did not have TV set and as if the Prosecutor is treating him roughly is just cynical,” Molashvili stated.

Mollashvili was sentenced to detention after the Revolution of the Roses, on April 23, 2010. He was released from prison under the Patriarch’s motion. He is currently at Cyprus since he was granted with a political asylum by the countries’ authorities. (Agenda.Ge)