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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 22
Police release abducted Turkish businessman, arrest kidnappers

On December 15, on the basis of information received, members of the Special Operative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs launched a preliminary investigation into the kidnapping of Hasan Bairakhtar, a citizen of Turkey. Five days later members of an organized criminal group were detained for this kidnapping. They are Zurab Inashvili (born 1963) Davit Saakashvili (born 1969) and Vazha Nebieridze (born 1967).

The investigators have seized a vehicle equipped with a special handmade mechanism for receiving the ransom the kidnappers demanded. The detainees have already pleaded guilty.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgian students mark 32nd anniversary of Patriarch's enthronement

Georgian student marked the 32nd anniversary of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II's enthronement on Sunday. Students from 26 universities marched from Metekhi Bridge to the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. The rector of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University was among them.

The students presented Ilia II with an icon of St. Spiridon. The Patriarch blessed the young people assembled in the cathedral and handed them a special blessing letter.
(Rustavi 2)

Jemal Gogitidze dies at age 49 in Moscow

Jemal Gogitidze has died at the age of 49 in Moscow, reportedly of a heart attack, former head of Batumi port Jambul Ninidze, currently living in Moscow, has told Interpressnews. "Jemal Gogitidze was taken to hospital last night, though doctors could not save him," Ninidze said.

Jemal Gogitidze was elected a Member of Parliament several terms and was once Minister of Internal Affairs of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

Opposition discusses plans for upcoming elections with public organisations

The leaders of the non-Parliamentary opposition parties have met representatives of various public organizations and famous public figures to discuss their plans for the upcoming local government elections. Some public organisations believe that the opposition should boycott these elections, others think that the non-Parliamentary opposition should field a joint candidate.

Participants of the meeting drafted a special document which will include a demand to raise the election threshold to 50% and improve the election code. Political and public movements will confirm their assent to these demands by signing the aforementioned document.

Gia Tsagareishvili was the only MP from the Parliamentary opposition attending the meeting.

The opposition leaders said they would nominate a joint candidate for Tbilisi Mayor in a few days.
(Rustavi 2)