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The News in Brief

Monday, June 13
ECHR to Rule in Merabishvili’s Pretrial Detention Case on June 14

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will announce its decision over a complaint filed by Georgia’s former Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, over his pretrial detention on June 14, the Strasbourg-based court said on Friday.

Merabishvili, secretary general of the UNM opposition party, who was also the PM for few months before the UNM was defeated in the 2012 elections, was arrested in May 2013 and charged with misspending and vote-buying; other set of criminal charges were filed against him later – all of them denied by Merabishvili as politically motivated.

A court in Kutaisi ordered Merabishvili’s pretrial detention on May 22 2013, and his motion for release was declined four months later, when the court remanded him in pretrial detention on September 25, 2013.

Merabishvili was found guilty and sentenced to a numprison terms in several separate trials. In February 2014 he was sentenced in two separate cases by Kutaisi City Court to five years in jail on charges of misspending and vote-buying; in the same month he was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in jail in connection to the case of breaking up of the protest rally in Tbilisi in May, 2011; and in October, 2014 he was sentenced to 3 years in jail on charges of abuse of power in case related to the Sandro Girgvliani murder.

In his application to the Strasbourg-based human right court, Merabishvili claims that the court’s decision to place him in the pretrial detention was taken based on unclear legal rules without giving a specific time limit for his detention; he also argued that this decision lacked reasonable grounds; he also complained that the court rejected his motion for release in September 2013 without carrying out a proper judicial review of his request.

Merabishvili also alleged in his complaint that initiation of criminal proceedings against him and his arrest were used by the authorities to exclude him from the political life of the country, resulting in the weakening of the UNM party and preventing him from standing as a candidate in the presidential election which was held in October 2013. He also claimed that his persecution continued during the pretrial detention when in December, 2013 he was allegedly removed from his cell and taken for a late-night meeting with then chief prosecutor, Otar Partskhaladze, whom Merabishvili accused of intimidation.

MIA detains Ukraine’s citizen wanted by INTERPOL

Georgia’s Interior Ministry has detained a Ukrainian citizen wanted by INTERPOL. As IPN has been informed by the Interior Ministry, Ukrainian citizen Diglam B.,born in 1979, has been detained when he tried to leave Georgia and cross the Georgia-Azerbaijan border.

As reported, he has been on Interpol’s wanted list since 10.12.2015.

Diglam B. has been accused of intentional damage to health.

Pre-extradition procedures are underway at present.

Georgia’s Prime Minister meets German Chancellor this week

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili is set to pay a two-day visit to Germany to discuss the country’s visa liberalisation prospects with top German officials.

Kvirikashvili will be in Germany on June 15 and 16.

Kvirikashvili is scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss bilateral relations, Georgia’s European integration along with Georgia’s visa liberalisation process.

The two leaders will then address the media following their face-to-face meeting.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) member states are scheduled to discuss Georgia's visa-free travel at their June 20 meeting.

Yesterday, the European Commissioner for Migration, Internal Affairs and Citizenship Issues Dimitris Avramopulous reconfirmed Georgia had fulfilled all the commitments for its visa liberalisation.

"The Commission has been very clear in its recommendations,” Avramopulous said.

"I hope that there will be a progress on this issue in the Council and Parliament soon,” he added.

‘Border guards’ abduct two from village of Bershueti

So-called border guards have abducted two people from the village of Bershueti in the Gori municipality.

A father and son, Roin and Giorgi Zautashvili, were feeding cattle along the village.

As reported by Gori Municipality Governor’s representative Davit Tsertsvadze, they were on territory controlled by Georgia when detained by occupation forces.