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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 20
“President Saakashvili, don’t kill the press!”

‘President Saakashvili, don’t kill the press!’ – this address to the President of Georgia has been published in Georgian and English on the front pages of almost all newspapers Sunday.

With this action the Georgian press expresses its protest against the removal of newsagent kiosks or booths in the capital.

According to the Kviris Palitra newspaper, just a few press booths out of 140-150 were left in Tbilisi and they will be removed by the end of the year as well.

‘We have information that booths will be removed in other towns of Georgia too’, the Kviris Palitra newspaper says.

According to the Resonansi newspaper, press distribution companies are at risk of bankruptcy. ‘The majority of press distribution companies say they are facing bankruptcy because of removal of press booths in the capital’, the newspaper says.

“This is unacceptable! It is clear the motive for such an action is the political crisis currently being experienced by the government. There has never been such an attack on independent media and it is clearly connected to the elections,” Lasha Tugushi, editor-in-chief of the Resonansi newspaper said.

Situation regarding Georgians detained for drug-trafficking in Malaysia remains unchanged

The situation with regard to the Georgians detained in connection with drug-trafficking in Malaysia, remains unchanged, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said, 24 Hours reports.

The Georgian side continues working in this area. Both the Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office are engaged in the case, Kalandadze said.

‘We are cooperating with law-enforcement agencies in Malaysia, but the case is in the hands of the court and, therefore, neither we nor the law-enforcement agencies of Malaysia can affect the court's decision. However, we are trying to get the case resolved in a diplomatic way" Kalandadze said.

She added that the Georgian side was trying to contact the Malaysian side through mediation of other states, as Georgia does not have a delegation to Malaysia.

Georgian natives Darejan Kokhtashvili and Babutsa Gordadze were detained on the charge of drug smuggling in Malaysia in October 2010. They will face the death penalty if they are convicted.