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The News in Brief

Wednesday, April 11
Lech Kaczynski monument opens in Tbilisi

A memorial to late Polish President Lech Kaczynski was dedicated in Tbilisi Tuesday. A street near the monument, as well as the square it rests in, have also been named after Kachinsky.

A funeral in memory of the April 10 Smolensk plane crash victims will be conducted at the Catholic Church in Tbilisi. (Rustavi 2)

Visitors from Russia increase 70%

The number of Russian citizens visiting Georgia has increased by 70% over last year, thanks to Georgia's decision to lift its visa requirement.

Presidential press speaker Manana Manjgaladze said that since March, 30 000 Russian citizens have arrived in Georgia at the Larsi border crossing alone.

She said growth in the number of visitors from Russia proves that the decision unilaterally scrap the visa regime was a good one.

"In addition to all this, it is a financial investment in Georgia's tourism infrastructure. More investment means more employed people," she said. (Rustavi 2)

Parliament building not yet sold: Machavariani

The current Parliament building in Tbilisi has not yet been sold, according to Vice-Speaker Mikheil Machavariani.

An investment package may be prepared and offered to investors after Parliament moves to Kutaisi next month.

As for the famous chandelier, which belonged to Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov, a decision has not yet been made. Machavariani says that MPs have a number of ideas regarding the fate of the chandelier, including the proposal to hand it over to the church being built on Mount Elia. (IPN)

Movement ‘No’, organization ‘Solidarity to Illegal Prisoners’ launch new campaign

Political movement ‘No’ and organization ‘Solidarity to Illegal Prisoners’ have launched a new campaign.

According to Levan Chitadze, a representative of the No movement, the campaign will be large-scale and aimed at supporting political prisoners. A memorandum will be signed with NGOs and political parties within the framework of the campaign. The document, which will express a single position with regard to political prisoners, will also be sent to the Council of Europe.

According to Chitadze, a similar document already exists in Azerbaijan, where the Council of Europe studied the cases of prisoners at the request of NGOs. As a result, political prisoners were released.

The organizers of the campaign are going to hold a conference on May 21. NGOs, political parties, and the diplomatic corps will be invited to the conference.

Both No and Solidarity to Illegal Prisoners criticized the Public Defender’s report on prison conditions, saying it did not mention political persecution at all. (IPN)

Police vice-colonel arrested for bribery

The General Inspection office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has arrested a police vice-colonel on a charge of bribery.

Reportedly, Deputy Chief of the Staff and Organizing department of the MIA, Davit Rekhviashvili, extorted a large amount of cash from a citizen.

The deputy chief has pled guilty. General Inspection hopes for a 15 year sentence. (Rustavi 2)