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The News in Brief

Monday, February 1
12 political parties apply to monitor registers

12 political parties had applied to the CEC for money to monitor the electoral registers by yesterday afternoon, Zurab Kharatishvili, Chairman of the CEC (Central Election Commission) told Interpressnews.

Under amendments to the Election Code the Finance Ministry will allocate additional money for monitoring the electoral registers which will be used at the 2010 local elections. This monitoring will begin on 5 February and last until 15 March. The Finance Ministry has already allocated 200,000 GEL for this purpose.

The Labour Party and the National Forum have announced that they will not take part in the monitoring of the electoral registers. Labour's Ioseb Shatberashvili told Interpressnews that "this is a trick by the Government designed to place the responsibility for rigged elections on the opposition." Magda Popiashvili of the National Forum said that monitoring the registers made no sense in the current electoral environment.

Russian occupiers detain 5 Georgians

Russian occupiers have detained 5 Georgians in the border village of Saberio in the Gali district, however three have now been released.

Reports say that the three were released because they were residents of Saberio, while the two still detained are residents of the Tsalenjikha district of the Samegrelo region.

Representatives of the legitimate Government of Gali say that they will appeal to international organisations for their help in securing the release of the detainees in the nearest future.

Koko Gamsakhurdia’s commission completes its term next week

The term of the Temporary Parliamentary Commission studying the cause of death of first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia expires next week. The commission was set up on 6 November. It will present a report to Parliament and ask for a three month extension.

The report will include the outcomes of interrogations undertaken during a recent visit to Russia. In particular, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia was told by former Security Minister Igor Giorgadze that ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze wanted Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s liquidation most of all, and that suicide can be ruled out. The commission is likely to interrogate Shevardnadze if its term is extended.

Pardon Commission recommends release of 16 prisoners

The Georgian Pardon Commission has decided to recommend 16 prisoners for release. These include people sentenced for crimes of all categories, including murder, fraud, car theft and drug dealing, but no women or juveniles are among them.

The commission discussed the cases of 133 prisoners at its session on Saturday.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgian Education Ministry establishes Occupation Week

The Georgian Education and Science Ministry has establish a new competition entitled `Russian Aggression through my Eyes`. It is part of the new Occupation Week, which will last for a month. Schoolchildren will visit the Occupation Museum and express their own views of the Russian aggression of August 2008 through paintings and essays.

The contest will be carried out in two stages and pupils of schools throughout Georgia will take part in it. Two winners will be revealed at the first stage and three at the second. A special jury of famous writers and painters will name the overall winner on February 25.
(Rustavi 2)

Body of Georgian student killed in France returned to Batumi

On January 30 the body of Nino Tsetskhladze, 24, who was murdered in France, was returned to Batumi in the Adjara region. The Georgian student was robbed violently and died of asphyxiation during the robbery. The culprit has been detained and may face 30 years imprisonment.

Nino Tsetskhladze was a student at Batumi State University. She was undertaking an 8-month course of study in the town of Amiens in France. The Adjaran Government will cover all the funeral expenses.
(Rustavi 2)

Memorandum signed between Justice Ministry and Ombudsman's Office

On January 29 a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Justice and the Ombudsman's Office. The document stipulates that moves will be taken to ensure the civil integration and defence of the rights of national minorities in order to facilitate the more active involvement of different ethnic groups in social projects.

The document was signed within the framework of the National Concept of Tolerance and Civil Integration adopted by the Georgian Government on May 8, 2009. The Justice Ministry intends to sign similar agreements with other Ministries as well.
(Rustavi 2)