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The News in Brief

Monday, September 2
Georgian National Convicted of terrorism in Volgograd

Russia's Volgograd Oblast Court has sentenced a Georgian citizen to a four-year jail term for being an active member of Al-Qaeda.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on August 28 that Shukuran Mamedov was found guilty of participation in the activities of illegal armed groups in Russia's North Caucasus and illegal border-crossing. He was sentenced the same day.

Investigators say that in 1999, Mamedov joined the Islamic insurgency in Russia's volatile Republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus.

Mamedov reportedly spent time in Afghanistan in 2010 to receive training by Islamic militants to organize terrorist acts against NATO-led coalition troops.

The investigators also say Mamedov tried to organize ways to supply the Islamic insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus with equipment, arms, ammunition, and financial support via Al-Qaeda's network.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RIA Novosti
(Radio Freedom)

Muslims in Batumi apply to build one more mosque

Muslims in Batumi have asked the central government for permission to build one more mosque in the Black Sea coastal city, as the one mosque they have is not big enough.

On Friday, people gathered and conducted prayers at a deserted plot marked as the location of a future mosque on Bagrationi Street.

Tariel Nakaidze, head of the Union of Georgian Muslims, told Interpressnews that the new mosque will be built with Georgian architecture and ornaments and the construction will be financed by donations from the community.

“We have already prayed here. This is the land plot for the new mosque and no one can touch it,” he said, adding that they will present the construction project to the government and build it with financing from donations.

“We do not ask for money. However, we call on Orthodox Christians to donate too.”

The community emphasizes that there has been need for another mosque in Batumi for several years as the one they have is too small.

The government has not yet responded to their request.

Three thousand people took part in a protest march in Batumi in April 2012 against a planned mosque honoring the historic Turkish leader Aziz.
(Democracy and Freedom Watch)

Georgian Economy Minister Meets Armenian PM

Georgia’s Deputy PM and Minister of Economy, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, met with Prime Minister of Armenia, Tigran Sargsyan in Yerevan on August 29.

Kvirikashvili, according to his press office, told the Armenian PM about Georgia’s interest in “implementing mutually beneficial investment projects.”

The Armenian PM said: “We should continue our efforts toward the expansion of bilateral ties, since it is in the best interest of our two peoples. A common space has to be created where our people will be free to cooperate in various fields, which in turn can provide greater opportunities for strengthened economic ties.”

According to the Armenian PM’s office, cooperation in transportation, customs administration, agriculture and tourism, as well as the possibility of restoring direct flights between Yerevan and Tbilisi were also discussed during the meeting.

In Yerevan, the Georgian Economy Minister also met his Armenian counterpart, as well as Armenian Minister of Transport and Communication.

Statement by the Republican Party of Georgia

Republican Party of Georgia has released a special statement regarding the tension caused by the dismantling of the minaret at local mosque in the village of Chella. In it, the party, which is a member of the ruling coalition, says that the statements and assessments made by some religious figures are illegal and dangerous. "Rallies of the kind, the goal of which was declared openly as a violation of law, i.e. obstruction to execute the decision taken by the government, are unacceptable and at the same time, are shameful in our country, where people were always proud of the tradition of religious tolerance. We consider the political statements of some high ranking clergymen also similarly alarming. For example, when they guarantee that the minaret will not be installed again. As a rule, the government has no right to interfere in the affairs of a church, as well as the church has no authority to take the functions of the state.

Georgia`s Republican Party acknowledges that it is a member of the ruling coalition and together with its political partners, shares the responsibilities of the government. The official structures must enforce the decisions taken in accordance with the law on the re-installation of the minaret," the Republican Party statement says.
(Rustavi 2)