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Merabishvili’s lawyer may appeal to Strasbourg

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, May 28
Vano Merabishvili, the General Secretary of the opposition United National Movement (UNM), remains in pre-trial detention. After the Appeals Court refused to change his custody, Merabishvili’s lawyer, Giorgi Chiviashvili, may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Having visited his defendant at Matrosovo jail on Monday, Chiviashvili said Merabishvili does not have any problems with the jail administration, and stays in his single cell and feels fine. However, the defendant denies the charges against him. Merabishvili considers his detention politically motivated.

According to the lawyer, he defined the “further strategy” how to protect the rights of the detainees together with Merabishvili. Even though they have six months to appeal to the Strasbourg Court, the lawyer said they will need additional consultations to decide whether to use this right or not.

Calling the detention of their team member and former Prime Minister political persecution, UNM members plan to hold protest rallies in front of every regional prosecutor’s office throughout the country to demand the release of their Secretary General.

UNM member Sergo Ratiani said at a briefing on May 27th that after the October 1st Parliamentary Election, the Prosecutor’s Office has become the main tool for the new Georgian Dream government to carry out “political repression.”

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, as well as the entire coalition deny political pressure on the prosecutor’s office during the process of the investigation, as well as exclude any political persecution against his opponents.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tamar Beruchashvili, said it is natural that Georgia’s international friends have an interest in the situation in Georgia as Georgia has shown a “special standard of democracy.”

Beruchashvili does not think that a case of detention of one particular person, in this case, Vano Merabishvili, would deteriorate political processes. She said more depends on how Georgia will perform its duties.

Beruchashvili said at Monday’s traditional briefing that the relevant bodies would ensure transparency of the investigation process within the local and international standards. She said the Georgian government is committed to answering the questions regarding the recent detentions and will manage to assure the international community that all these processes are only in the frames of law.