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The News in Brief

Monday, November 3
About three thousand prisoners to be released in November

About 3,000 individuals, convicted pursuant to sixty articles of the Criminal Code of Georgia, will be released this November, Gia Tortladze, Chair of the “Strong Georgia” Parliamentary faction, told journalists at a news conference on Friday.

“On the recommendation of the Anti-Crisis Council, the Government of Georgia has made the decision to announce a large-scale amnesty for prisoners convicted under about sixty articles. 3,000 convicts will be pardoned by November 23,” Tortladze said. He added that the aforesaid number was not precise and might change.

Tortladze refrained from specifying all sixty articles and pointed out just some of them. In particular, the amnesty will concern those convicted for the use of drugs, involvement in car accidents or crimes of negligence. The amnesty will also concern individuals with suspended sentences. People sentenced for serious crimes will not be released.

“I welcome this decision. In my opinion, in terms of protection of human rights and the democratization process, Georgia required such an amnesty,” Tortladze said. He emphasized that “such a large-scale amnesty has not been carried out in Georgia for a long time.”

Speaking to journalists on Friday, PM candidate Grigol Mgaloblishvili confirmed that “there is a political will to announce an amnesty and intense work has been carried out to identify categories of people who can be released.” Minister of the Interior Vano Merabishvili also mentioned an upcoming amnesty at a meeting of the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Issues on October 30, saying that the Interior Ministry had insisted on a minimal number of amnesties and pardons.

“This action was conditioned by only one thing - there is a high level of criminality in society, and as a rule criminals released ahead of term commit crimes most frequently. We are working seriously in this direction and hope that some hundreds of prisoners who are not dangerous for society will be possibly released by November 23”, he noted. Merabishvili added that “this is the first time since his appointment, that the Interior Ministry has welcomed such an initiative.”

Georgia will mark the 5th anniversary of its “Rose Revolution” on November 23rd this year.
(Black Sea Press)

Non-Parliamentary opposition prepares demands

The opposition outside Parliament will launch permanent protest rallies from November 7. The organization committee for these protests is expected to pass a number of demands to the President of Georgia on the first anniversary of the dispersal of the opposition rally, Conservative Party leader Kakha Kukava told journalists at a news conference on October 31.

“Among the major demands are – the release of political prisoners and the freedom of the mass media. We are launching permanent protest rallies. The rally schedule will be announced soon,” Kukava said.

The beginning of a new wave of protest rallies is scheduled for November 7 – the first anniversary of the dispersal of the opposition rally in Tbilisi. Mass clashes between the opposition and the police/special task forces occurred on Rustaveli Avenue on November 7, 2007, during the dispersal of a protest rally which demand the resignation of the country’s President. Tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and water jets were used against the protestors. According to the Ministry of Health of Georgia, about 600 people suffered injury during the clashes, while approximately 30 rally participants were arrested by Interior Ministry officers for violations of public order, hooliganism and resisting the law-enforcement agencies.

The opposition has proclaimed November 7 the Day of Fight Against Violence. It will begin its manifestation outside the Parliament building, on Rustaveli Avenue, at 2 p.m. and will later head to the residence of the President of Georgia in Avlabari.

The Conservative Party, Labour Party, Movement for United Georgia, People’s Party and New Rights are among the groups which will participate in the protest rally.
(Black Sea Press)