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Burjanadze’s husband charged

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, May 31
Badri Bitsadze, husband of the leader of the People’s Assembly, Nino Burjanadze, who was leading recent anti-government protests in Tbilisi, was charged by the Georgian Prosecutor’s office with “organizing attacks on policemen by a group created in advance,” Georgia’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Davit Sakvarelidze said on Monday.

According to Sakvarelidze, former border police Chief was charged based on the testimony of a retired General Gia Uchava, who was one of the leaders of a “paramilitary” group created by the People’s Assembly and the testimony of five other members of the same group. Georgian Prosecutor’s office said, Bitsadze was charged with the second part of the 353th article of Georgia’s criminal code, which envisages imprisonment from 4 to 7 years. Bitsadze has not been arrested. The Prosecutor’s Office said they have requested the court to apply bail; however the amount set for bail has not been announced so far.

Meanwhile, on Monday Burjanadze claimed she had not been able to contact her husband during the day, saying that the issue of Bitsadze’s arrest depends on the authorities’ “mood.” “I do not really know what will come to the mind of this government, however I know that if they will attempt to detain him, he will not try to run away, at least because, that in case he tries to escape, they might shoot at him and later say that he was armed,” Burjanadze told journalists, adding that she knows “for sure” that Bitsadze is not armed.

Ex-Parliament Speaker noted that she is ready for police search to be held in the houses of the Democratic Movement and the People’s Assembly members. “There is no need a special operation to be held in order to conduct a search,” she said “If it is necessary to search the houses and offices for investigation procedures, then they should notify in advance, as envisaged by the legislation. The search process should be attended by journalists and diplomatic corps representatives, in order to avoid “suddenly finding nuclear weapons” in the houses and offices,” Burjanadze added.

National Assembly issued a special statement on Monday, claiming that the people detained and charged after the May 26 crackdown, had no chance to appeal the court decision. “Most of the people detained on May 26 were sentenced to administrative imprisonment, however the families and third parties did not know about it,” the statement reads. According to the members of the National Assembly, the detainees had no chance to appeal the decision within the 48 hours after the court decision, as envisaged by the Georgian legislation.

“There was no motivation, based on what circumstances the court made the decision, and if there is no specific motivation, it is impossible to discuss whether it was correct or not. The family members did not know for what misdemeanor their relatives were arrested… That’s why we consider that the deadline for appealing the court decision should be extended as far as the deadline was missed due to the reasons which did not depend on the detainees,” the statement of the People’s Assembly members read.

On Friday the Georgian Interior Ministry issued a list of the detainees, arrested during May 26 events, listing 105 names. Meanwhile the Georgian Public Defender’s office issued its own list, which includes 162 names of the alleged detainees.