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Compiled by Sopo Datishvili
Monday, January 12
Patriarch visits prisoners

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II has visited prisons number 7 and 5 for women and juveniles.

His Holiness said that the President should show more tolerance towards prisoners and release them. “We cannot waste people. Those who are in prison can do a lot of kind works in their lives. We from our side send our solicitation on this to the President. Many prisoners are already free but there are still quite a lot of people in jail, especially women and juveniles. Those who could easily be amnestied should be set free,” said the Patriarch, who also called on the media to take a more active interest in prisoners.

“It was our duty to come here and visit them. Of course they would feel better themselves if they were at home now. They should be back with their families. Most of those here are young people and they should be back with their families”, said the Patriarch.

His Holiness brought the prisoners sweets, various products, religious literature, icons and Christmas Epistles. The Patriarch’s Christmas visit to jails has already become a tradition.

MP’s protest

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that MP Jondi Bagaturia is demanding changes in the Criminal Code. He has declared at a briefing that he has already prepared draft changes and will suggest them to Parliament at the beginning of spring season.

Baghaturia says it is necessary to abolish the special punishment for changing testimony. “To sentence people for changing their testimony is a fascist approach and this must be abrogated,” he said. He is also demanding the restoration of the paragraph which gave the judge the right to reduce punishment based on the circumstances of the case.

Mgaloblishvili may make announcement from Germany

Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili unexpectedly left Georgia on December 31 with his family. The Government gave seeking medical treatment as the official reason for his departure.

Rezonansi reports however that Mgaloblishvili had appealed to the President for reassignment at the end of December but Saakashvili did not agree. This is held to be the real reason behind his trip. It is thought that the Prime Minister may make an announcement about this while he is in Germany.

Sozar Subari: I couldn’t say this then

Versia reports that the Sozar Subari, the Public Defender has commented on his recent speech in Parliament.

“I knew about a particular meeting being held, but not the date, when it was decided that people would be beaten. We should differentiate these two things. They weren’t talking about breaking up the demonstration but when I heard what I did I postponed my visit to Vilnius. This can be easily confirmed by representatives of the UN. They learned at the airport that I wasn’t coming and they were surprised as the visit had been organised for me.

“If I had come out on November 5 (2007) and declared what I knew via Imedi TV or special conference, I think you can guess what would have followed. There was a danger that any leader of the opposition might say, “we’ve got a criminal Government, let’s rush into Parliament. This would have caused the death of many, and I would have been responsible for this. So I didn’t risk it, but I strengthened monitoring at the demonstrations. My employees were there day and night.

“I provided international organizations and high level diplomats with this information. Not making public what I knew then was right, and I also cared about the safety of my informant,” said Subari.