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The News in Brief

Friday, May 1
Car attack on Dutch Royal Family

Four people were killed and thirteen injured during Dutch national holiday celebrations in the city of Apeldoorn yesterday when a car ploughed through the crowd towards an open-topped bus carrying Queen Beatrix and the Dutch Royal Family. Police said that although the incident was a deliberate attack on the Royal Family it was not an act of terrorism.

The driver crashed his black Suzuki into a monument to former Queen Wilhelmina after driving straight through police cordons. It is reported that people flew through the air. The Royal Family was said to be visibly shocked as the car sped past.

The driver is being treated in hospital along with the wounded. (The Guardian)

Police detain author of threatening email

Nikoloz Chikhradze, who is charged with sending an email to Levan Kubaneishvili, the Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, which threatened him and his family, has been detained by police.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs states that the email was sent from IP address An investigation is being conducted by the MIA criminal police department.

The Ministry has broadcast video material in which Nikoloz Chikhradze says that he does not agree with the way in which the First Channel is covering the events taking place in the country, and that’s why he threatened Kubaneishvili. (Interpressnews)

Labour leader claims he was assaulted

The Political Secretary of the Georgian Labour Party, Giorgi Gugava, says party leader Shalva Natelashvili has been assaulted. Gugava held a briefing for the media late on Wednesday night and said the incident occurred in the vicinity of the Tbilisi Sea yesterday. Since undergoing heart surgery Natelashvili has often been seen walking in the area where the attack took place.

According to Gugava, about twenty men were involved in the assault who even tried to use pistols when they learnt that it was the Labour Party leader. Luckily, guards protected him. The Labour Party has accused the Government of organizing the assault. (Rustavi 2)

Russian Foreign Ministry says Abkhazia is safe for Russian tourists

The Russian Foreign Ministry considers that the situation Abkhazia is stable. Its representative Andrey Nesterenko has said that “We hope Abkhazia will restore its tourist infrastructure and many people will be able to spend time in Abkhazia.”

Nesterenko added that infrastructure restoration projects are currently being undertaken in Abkhazia. (Interpressnews)

Public Defender condemns pressure on journalists

Public Defender Sozar Subari has condemned instances of pressure being applied to journalists and accused the police of negligence in following these cases up. Subari said at a briefing yesterday that the media in Georgia, particularly the outlets controlled by the authorities, is very sick and this sickness has caused a number of grave problems for the country.

According to the Ombudsman, any instance of pressure being put on journalists is unacceptable, because this pressure will not make reporters or television stations change their manner of broadcasting. Neither will it help anyone to resolve the current problems.

The Public Defender says that pressure is currently being placed on journalists because no such case has been investigated for several years. He maintains that preventing a journalist from performing the duties is actually listed a crime and carries a two year prison sentence. (Rustavi 2)

Interior Ministry reports detention of cargo vessel

On April 29, 2009 Coast Guard officers detained the dry-cargo vessel New Star, sailing under the flag of Sierra Leone, for illegally crossing the maritime border and entering the special economic zone of Georgia. The dry-cargo vessel had left Sokhumi ad was bound for Turkey.

The New Star did not obey the legal demand of the Border Police to stop, and continued moving and manoeuvring dangerously. However, officers managed to detain the vessel, which was taken to the Coast Guard base at Poti port. All 14 crew members of the vessel are Turkish citizens.

A preliminary investigation is in progress, launched under Article 3221 Part II sub-paragraph `a` of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Public Advocacy releases video testimony of protestor

The non-Governmental organization Public Advocacy has released the video testimony of Levan Gogitidze, a protestor who lives in one of the improvised cells outside Parliament.

Volunteers had spotted Gogitidze and other protestors injecting themselves with drugs in one of the cells. In the video, published on the internet portal on Wednesday, Gogitidze talks about provocations but confesses to injecting the drugs. (Rustavi 2)