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The News in Brief

Wednesday, October 9
By Mariam Chanishvili

Injured Protestor Mako Gomuri did not receive victim status

Following the events of the night of June 20, also known as the "Gavrilov’s Night" protests, the Prosecutor General's Office found more law enforcement victims than the protesters.

The Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) released the information on the basis of the investigation department.

According to GYLA, the prosecutor's office recognized 67 law enforcement officers and 4 protesters as victims. It is noteworthy that the victim status was not granted to Mako Gomuri, who lost her eyes during the night. She wasn't the only one, and eye patches became symbols of the protests. Now Gomuri is fighting for compensation for what she believes was excessive use of police force.

“When we look at the statistics of the number of detainees, the number of people who have been granted victim status, and the number of people who have been given administrative penalties, we see that everything is selective. While neither the person who issued the illegal order nor the issue of political responsibility has been punished, this indicates that there have been selective approaches to the case,” said Eka Gigauri, head of Transparency International Georgia.

The prime minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia commented on the issue earlier.

“The process of recognizing a person as a victim has its rules and as far as I know, these procedures are in progress concerning Mako Gomuri. As soon as they are complete, she will be recognized as a victim,” PM Gakharia told the media.

Sulkhan Saladze, Chairman of the Young Georgian Lawyers Association also commented on the issue.

“We can talk and assume that he still does not want the authorities and the investigation to give people the status of victims. The reason, in my opinion, is this: Status allows people to have more access to the investigation - let's say, at what point it is now, as well as access to case files; If a status is granted to a person and it turns out that within 3 months, there is not much done as to why and how a civilian was injured during the protest - it will, of course, sooner or later be reported to the media, the public, and this will create additional inconvenience for further investigation” said Saladze.

Chairman of the State Duma demands apology from Zurabishvili

Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin told Russia-24 that Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili should publicly apologize for her anti-Russian statements.

“In this situation, the message may be just one. The President of Georgia, who has spoken publicly about Russia as an aggressor state, should apologize and take back his words,” he said, adding that the development of relations between the two countries is unthinkable when the Georgian authorities do so.

Volodin notes that anti-Russian sentiment was initiated by the satellite states of the United States, the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Russian politician also recalls the events in Georgia in June, saying that instead of adequately assessing the situation, the Georgian president declared Russia an aggressor.

Vyacheslav Volodin is a Russian politician who has served as the 10th Chairman of the State Duma since 5 October 2016. He is a former aide to President Vladimir Putin.

Mayor of Tbilisi on taxi reform

The mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha Kaladze made a statement regarding the ongoing taxi reforms.

The capital of Georgia starts the second round of the taxi reform, which was a new initiative in summer 2019 that was soon made into a reform, with deadlines in August and then October concerning taxi drivers and passengers.

The population complains about the taxi price rise. Some posts have also spread on social media noting that flight to Milan from Kutaisi costs less than a taxi fare from one part of Tbilisi to another.

Kaladze noted that the taxi reform is underway, focusing on the maximum safety and satisfaction of the passengers.

“We presented our transportation policy two years ago and a vision of what needs to be done. Taxis are one of the directions in this reform is also the regulation of public transport - buses, subways, taxis. Moving to the city will be the fastest and most comfortable. If there are a number of cases of the excessive taxi fare, we will do our best to fix it. The taxi has its client, so when the city has embarked on a major public transport reform, our main goal and objective are to replace the existing yellow buses that are in a horrible condition.

The main task is to provide a comfortable service for passengers to travel in a clean car. Most importantly, the car is safe and of course, in the end, it will make the taxi more expensive and that's normal. If there is a problem for anyone, there will be new buses that will be able to move, there will be a subway, upgraded stations, and rehabilitated wagons,” he said.