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The News in Brief

Tuesday, April 7
Georgian Diasporas call for national consolidation

Government representatives say that Georgian Diasporas have called for national consolidation and expressed their concern regarding the April 9 demonstration, at which the opposition will demand the President`s resignation and early Presidential elections. Minister of Diaspora Affairs Iulon Gagoshidze and senior MP from the ruling party Nugzar Tsiklauri, who chairs the corresponding Parliamentary committee, have held a briefing in this regard.

“Many our compatriots reside abroad but remain an active part of our society. Despite their absence, they are involved in the life of the country and they are serious investors for Georgia. That’s why Georgian emigrants express their great concern over the situation in the country and call for national consolidation,” the Minister said, adding they were receiving hundreds of letters from Georgians abroad.

Police detain two members of Why? movement

Police have detained two Why? movement activists. It has been reported that the detainees are Merab Chikashvili and Bacho Tsomaia.

One of the participants in the protest action at which the two men were arrested, Irakli Kordzaia, stated that the movement would hold a special briefing in its office regarding the incident and announce its action plan.

The protest began in front of a television station at 13:00 yesterday. There were several skirmishes between the demonstrators and police.

Member of Badri Bitsadze’s NGO brutally beaten

Kakha Khandolishvili, a member of the Border Security and Migration Research Centre NGO was beaten by people in masks on Sunday.

Khandolashvili has told Interpressnews that he was taken by force to an undisclosed location by up to 10 masked people. His kidnappers demanded money from him, which they said he was bringing to Badri Bitsadze in Tbilisi.

“I believe they were trying to intimidate me as I am linked with Badri Bitsadze. They threatened that if I didn’t give money to them they would kill my child. They tried to pretend they were bandit, but I’m sure they were not ordinary criminals,” Khandolashvili stated.

Khandolashvili said he was tortured for 3-4 hours. “They pointed a gun at me several times and told me they would shoot me, then they brought dogs and told me they would tear me to pieces. I was kept blindfold during all this. After they were sure that I had no money, they threw me into a ravine about 15 kilometres from Marneuli highway. I managed to climb out of the ravine and contact relatives,” he said.

Khandolashvili was visited by Democratic Movement – United Georgia leader Nino Burjanadze and the head of the Border Security and Migration Research Centre Badri Bitsadze in the Republican Hospital. Nino Burjanadze maintains that the Government is trying to blackmail people who have any kind of connection with her and her husband Badri Bitsadze. Bitsadze states that the incident was linked with 9 April and was designed to intimidate opposition parties.

Doctors report that Khandolishvili’s condition is satisfactory. He was discharged from hospital yesterday.

Norwegian organization clears village of mines

Representatives of the Norwegian People`s Assistance NGO are wrapping up minesweeping operations in the village of Nikozi, de-occupied after the Georgia-Russia war. The sweepers defused 13 unexploded mines, one of which was a cluster bomb.

The organization has been conducting mine clearing operations since March. An English humanitarian organization is also working in the region.
(Rustavi 2)

Public Defender addresses Justice Minister

Public Defender of Georgia Sozar Subari is urging the Minister of Justice to look into the case of Archil Benidze, a member of the Labour Party, who was held in prison for 9 months on charges of money laundering.

Sozar Subari asserts Benidze was the subject of political pressure. The Ombudsman says Benidze spent nine months in prison illegally.

Sozar Subari urges the Justice Minister to reexamine the case.
(Rustavi 2)

Grigol Vashadze in Egypt

Foreign Minister of Georgia Grigol Vashadze is on an official visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

As Director of the Political Department of the Foreign Ministry Zurab Kachkachishvili stated at the regular briefing on Monday, this visit is very important as Egypt makes large investments in Georgia. This comment is a reference to Egypt’s role in the creation of the Free Industrial Zone in Kutaisi.

Kachkachishvili stated that Grigol Vashadze will meet his Egyptian counterpart and the General Secretary of the Arab League among others.