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PM says Georgia has ‘national’ President

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 27
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated that Georgia has really a ‘national’ President. His statement came after the President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s solution to pardon the brother of the opposition United National Movement ( UNM) member Akaki Bobokhidze with 73 other inmates. In total the President pardoned 97 prisoners. However, only 73 were released from custody, while others’ sentences have been eased.

The PM stressed that Georgia’s President is very honest and hoped that in the near future he would pardon such “kind people as Georgia’s ex-Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, ex-Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia and former President Mikheil Saakashvili” . Merabishvili and Akhalaia have been arrested, while Saakashvili is wanted by Georgia’s law-enforcement bodies.

Gharibashvili said that Levan Bobokhidze, who has been just pardoned by the President, was arrested by the Prosecutor’s Office under the current Government of Georgia. The individual was detained about nine months ago for illegal deforestation that caused 10,000 GEL loss and was sent to prison for more than three years.

Minister of Penitentiary Giorgi Mghebrishvili stated that the President made a “hasty decision.”

In response, the President’s administration appealed to high-ranking officials to refrain from making political statements over the issue and explained the rules of pardoning.

Head of the Pardon Commission Zviad Koridze stated that none of the detainees were pardoned without a positive description from the prison administration.

“We were appealed to discuss Levan Bobokhidze’s case and we also received positive recommendation from the prison administration,” Koridze said and stressed that the reason that Bobokhidze is the member of the UNM must not have been a hindering point for his pardoning.

“Such logic is not right,” Koridze added.

Member of the UNM Gia Baramidze suggested that the PM’s statements revealed that Bobokhidze was a political prisoner and accused the current government of Georgia of the political persecution of its opponents.

Recently released Levan Bobokidze says that he did not commit the crime he was sentenced for and stated that he asked his mother to appeal to the Pardon Commission.

Based on the rules, different individuals address the Pardon Commission to discuss the cases of various prisoners. The 12-member commission studies the cases and gives recommendations to the President. After the procedure is finished, the President again discusses the recommended prisoners with the commission and makes a final decision.