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Compiled by Lera Khubunaia
Tuesday, February 21
Khvedelidze sues President for second time The wife of opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili has demanded moral compensation of 20 000 GEL from the President of Georgia. According to a statement released by her lawyer, Ekaterine Khvedelidze appealed to a Tbilisi city court on February 15, demanding compensation for the loss of her Georgian citizenship.

Kronika reports that the court partially fulfilled her complaint, with a judge ruling that the revocation of Khvedelidze's citizenship was unwarranted, and ordering President Mikheil Saakashvili to pay 100 GEL.

The newspaper interviewed Zakaria Kutsnashvili, Khvedelidze's lawyer, and asked what factors determined the requested amount of compensation. "There is a reasonable norm in the law, which is how a compensation of 20 000 GEL was determined. During a moral damage case, the plaintiffs usually demand either a symbolic amount or a quite serious amount. According to Georgian law, in the situation like this one, the decision must be... reasonable. The amount we demanded is in accordance with this practice," he explained.

Although they failed to win the entire amount, Kutsnashvili sees the case as a victory, saying, "It is a quite promising verdict; once and for all Saakashvili must take the responsibility for something".

As for the 100 GEL, the money will be transferred to the Irina Enukidze fund. Kutsnashvili claims that the President will be asked to pay out of his own pocket.



Georgia third in hepatitis C infections

Mteli Kvira reports that more than 200 000 people in Georgia or 6.7% of the population are infected with hepatitis C, a disease of the liver. This makes Georgia the third most infected country in the world, and number one in the region.

Most patients are unable to undergo treatment because of the high cost of drugs. Hepititus C treatment consists of two drugs, Interferon and Ribavirin. One ampoule of Interferon, which must be taken once a week, costs 500 GEL. In order to undergo a full course of treatment, patients must pay 12 000-24 000 GEL.

"It is an unrealistic demand that treatment is free for all patients. It is understandable that this cannot be done and that the government cannot provide enough money [to cover] all 200 000 infected people," said Magda Anikashvili, a member of the Christian Democrats. Her party is asking the government to provide better resource for combating the disease, in the hopes that more people can receive at least some form of treatment.

The Christian Democrats suggest the creation of medical "social groups" determined by age, disability, or stage of the disease, in order to identify those patients who need the most care, and to stretch the government's budget. "The disregard for these people should be stopped," Anikashvili remarked.