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First President's widow seeks asylum in Germany

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, December 29
Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia, the widow of Georgia’s first President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, asked for political asylum in Germany on December 28. She submitted a letter addressed to Patricia Flor, Ambassador of Germany to Georgia, containing an asylum request to Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, at the Sheraton Metekhi Palace where German Embassy to Georgia is located.

“All these years of continual pressure being applied to my family by anti-constitutional activities, which also abrogate the Helsinki Union Declaration and the Articles of the United Nations Declaration, have left me no other way but to appeal to the German Embassy for political asulym,” Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia commented to the media, adding that she will not renounce her Georgian citizenship if she gets political asylum.

Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia also said that she is worried about the health of her son, Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, who has gone on hunger strike at Gldani prison No 8. Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia believes that she can better encourage and support her son from abroad. “Let the whole world see how the widow of the first Georgian President is forced to leave the country due to political pressure on the family of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, founder of the fundamental idea of the freedom of Georgia, and I’m sure the whole world will support me,” she added.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, arrested on October 27, was sentenced to two months preliminary detention on October 29. Tbilisi city court has charged him with attempted murder and illegal possession of a weapon. He has denied the allegation and went on hunger strike the day he was detained. His lawyer Keti Bekauri says that Gamsakhurdia was assaulted by an unknown man at night on his way home and taken to prison with concussion and severe brain injury. She added that the investigation of the case has also been carried out improperly because Mr. Bajelidze, who Gamsakhurdia was accused of trying to murder, has been discharged from hospital and is healthy but has not been questioned. Gia Arsenishvili, Chairman of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of Parliament, has told The Messenger that the law enforcers haven't given the committee an opportunity to intervene in Gamsakhurdia’s case but of course he is very well acquainted with it.

Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, leader of the Freedom Party, and Jondi Baghaturia, leader of Georgian Troupe, have collected the signatures of MPs on a document requesting President Saakashvili to release Gamsakhurdia on bail. The required number of signatures was obtained and the document presented. Vice-Speaker Mikheil Machavariani declared that before presenting an appeal its author should consult the Legal Issues Committee, but Lasha Tordia, the First Deputy Chairman of the Legal Issues Committee, doesn’t have any information about this. However Jondi Baghaturia told us, “We collected the signatures and sent them to the President. However the only answer we got, from his Press Centre, is that every person is equal in the sight of the law. I know we are all equal, but what we asked the President was to release Tsotne Gamsakhurdia on bail until the evidence became clear.”

The Messenger has asked the Press Centre of the German Embassy what decision has been made on Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia’s asylum request. “The Embassy received this request a few hours ago, but unfortunately nothing can be discussed for a few days for various procedural reasons,” the Press Centre told us.