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Compiled by Sopo Datishvili
Thursday, April 23
This wasn’t a typical riot - Lortkipanidze

Versia has interviewed MP and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Dimitri Lortkipanidze, concerning the recent prison riot. Lortkipanidze said that “According to the official version the riot was caused by the April 18 amnesty. I was informed about these events late in the evening of the day the riot broke out and went there immediately to find out more. As a representative of the opposition I felt it was my duty to enter the prison building.

“I found the Ombudsman and MP Jondi Baghaturia were already there. I tried to speak to the prisoners but wasn’t allowed in as they were throwing different objects at me. They didn’t want to meet with Sozar Subari, Baghaturia or Dimitri Shashkin, only Davitashvili, Kukava and Gachechiladze, whose names they had written in a list. I couldn’t understand why, if they wanted to talk about amnesty, they should have asked for people who had nothing to do with it.

“Next day, when I visited Rustavi Prison Number 1, the majority of prisoners said they hadn’t taken part in the riot at all. They said they had even tried to resist the rioters but in vain.

“The rioters were women aged 30-50. The majority of the prisoners didn’t take part in it. 600 women were in the prison at the time, 130 were on remand. In the second building, there were 71 juveniles. Those 130 didn’t even try to support the rebels, who set fire to everything, chairs, beds, mattresses etc. It was only they who demanded an amnesty,” said Lortkipanidze.

Sweden recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity

Sweden recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity and welcomes its aspiration to join Euro-Atlantic Structures, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt announced at the joint briefing held after a meeting with Georgia’s Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, Akhali Taoba reports.

Grigol Vashadze was paying an official visit to Sweden. The Minister held a meeting with the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament.

At the meeting with the Swedish Foreign Minister, the issue of visa regime simplification for Georgians was discussed. Carl Bildt said Sweden would assist Georgia to intensify its relations with European structures. The Swedish authorities also urges Russia to fulfil the six-point ceasefire agreement signed by Sarkozy, Saakashvili and Medvedev last August and to withdraw its forces from Georgian territory.

The Georgian Foreign Minister had other meetings in Stockholm. He discussed economic cooperation with the Minister of Commerce of Sweden.