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Compiled by Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 13
Russian Patriarch to visit Georgia this year

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that the Georgian Patriarchate has announced that Kiril, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, is to visit Georgia this year. Russia’s new Patriarch is planning to visit all Orthodox countries and will visit Georgia at the end of the year but the exact date is not known yet.

Archbishop Ilarion, Chairman of the Russian Patriarchate’s Foreign Affairs Department, had recently declared that the Patriarch would visit Georgia in 2010.

Beselia looks for new ways to approach Merabishvili

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that Eka Beselia, leader of the Movement For United Georgia, refused to take part in yesterday’s meeting between the opposition and law enforcers. She said at a special press conference that she doesn’t want to be part of a masquerade or PR stunt. “The fact that two or three men have been released isn’t enough for me to attend meetings with Merabishvili and Adeishvili as many have been arrested. Saakashvili just needs this meeting to show that he is starting to develop a constructive relationship with opposition parties,” stated Eka Beselia.

Beselia said that since 9 April 76 men have been arrested and since October 2007 more than 115 political prisoners have been detained. Five of these are members of the Movement For United Georgia. “The number of political prisoners has increased in two years but we haven’t seen one political prisoner released,” she said.

Eka Beselia said that she has established a working group of opposition leaders, non-government sector representatives and experts. This group will work on the issue of political prisoners and produce a concrete list of persons who may be released. It will also be some kind of bridge between the Government and opposition.

No pardon for prisoners?

Rezonansi reports that Elene Tevdoradze, head of the Pardon Commission, has declared that the next pardoning of prisoners will not be on 28 August as expected. The Commission will next meet in the middle of September, she said.

Gia Arsenishvili, Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Protection Committee, stated on 10 August that the next pardon would be on 28 August but not as wide-ranging as before. Arsenishvili’s statement surprised Elene Tevdoradze, who remarked that Arsenishvili was a member of the Commission and she did not know why he was therefore spreading not correct information. “Our next meeting is to be held in September, the exact date will be known after the President decides it,” Tevdoradze added.

Dimitri Lortkipanidze, Arsenishvili’s Deputy, has however confirmed that a pardon is planned on 28 August.