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Levan Jikuri, arrested on June 20 case released after 50 days of hunger strike

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, October 9
Levan Jikuri, who was charged with violence committed by a group at the June 20 rally in Tbilisi, has been released on 2,000 GEL bail after admitting to his presence at the demonstration and using a shield against police. His lawyer, Aleksandre Zubiashvili, filed a petition for bail for Levan Jikuri. The prosecution also agreed to the motion.

Prior to the court ruling, the prosecution submitted a medical examiner's report that prosecutors said Jikuri had health problems and needed medical attention.

At the court hearing, Jikuri said he was at the rally. According to him, the video also shows that he used shield during clashes, though he does not agree with the accusation of group violence.

“I do not plead guilty. The footage shows that I use the shield, I admit. But I don't admit the accusation of group violence. I met these people in court. My health is alarming. I was starving for 50 days to reach this day,” commented Jikuri after being released.

He also explained the reasons why he was there on the night of June 20:

“I went to the rally because people were throwing bullets there and I was trying to help someone. When the shooting started, my wife was beaten too, and I used the shield to deter her from firing.” He also noted that he will talk about his position later, after resting for a few days.

It must be also mentioned that Jikuri and his lawyer provided all the evidence in the prosecution.

“The defense presented documents about the defendant's state of health, and the prosecution provided evidence that he really had a health problem… He acknowledges his accusation that he was in the vicinity of the Parliament and carried out the actions reflected in the video material,” said prosecutor Todua.

The trial of five people accused of involvement in group violence was held yesterday. At the court hearing, one of the defendants, Besik Tamliani, said that he had been on hunger strike for nine days and would end his hunger strike if a non-custodial measure against accused Levan Jikuri was used.

The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA), based on information received from the General Prosecutor’s Office, reports that more law enforcement officers have been recognized as victims of the June 20-21 events than protesters.

According to the information, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is investigating two cases in which 17 protesters were indicted, while 67 law enforcers were identified as victims; as part of the ongoing investigation, the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia charged 3 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while 4 protesters were identified as victims.

“The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association continues to study the events of June 20-21 and will present a legal evaluation of the case in the near future,” reads the information released by the GYLA.

Protests on Rustaveli Avenue started on June 20 in reaction to the visit of three Russian MPs to Georgia within the framework of a session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy held at the Parliament building, mostly due to the fact that Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov sat in the Parliamentary Speaker’s chair, speaking in Russian, which many Georgians saw as an unwelcome reminder of the Russian occupation of the country's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.

The protest turned into clashes with police after protesters tried to enter the parliament building.

The so-called Gavrilov Night protest was dispersed by riot police with the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. 240 individuals, including 32 journalists and 80 law enforcers, were injured during a clash on Rustaveli Avenue on June 20-21.