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Court of Appeals approves the initial decision on the release of opposition MP on bail

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 3
Tbilisi Court of Appeals approved the previous decision of Tbilisi City Court regarding an opposition MP Nika Melia and accepted him to be released on 30,000 GEL bail on Tuesday.

However, the United National Movement MP Melia, who is charged with incitement to violence during a rally in Tbilisi on June 20, must wear a monitoring bracelet and must not appear in public places to make public statements.

Melia says that banning him from making public statements is the violation of his MP rights and vows to appeal the restrictions to the Constructional Court.

He says that the Georgian Dream government is responsible for the June 20 rally, “as they invited Russian MPs at the Georgian parliament,” and irritated people.

Melia says that the founder of the Georgian Dream ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili “made judges from both courts” release him on bail, as his detention would have triggered further tension.

The ruling party dismisses any influence on the court.

Melia was charged by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia with organising, leading and participating in group violence on June 20-21, 2019 in Tbilisi protests rallies, and was released by Tbilisi City Court with GEL 30,000 bail on June 27.

The prosecution filed a motion requesting imprisonment and the defense lawyers requested – a GEL 10 000 bail in exchange for Melia’s release. However, the court decided to release him in exchange for GEL 30,000 bail.

After being released, the MP addressed 91 lawmakers, who supported the suspension of his MP immunity and agreed on his possible detention.

“How did the prosecutor manage to convince 91 lawmakers of me being guilty and could not persuade the court of it? It’s a political decision. They were afraid,” Nika Melia said.

The MP noted that Ivanishvili orchestrated the process.

The Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision of the City Court to the Court of Appeals as they believe Melia must have been kept in pre-trial detention.

The rally in Tbilisi on June 20 was sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in Georgia and an address of one of them from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker during an international religious event.

The Georgian government said that the public protest was fair, but stated that the opposition managed to transform a peaceful protest into violence, leaving 240 injured and 305 detained.