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Compiled by Tato Gachechiladze
Thursday, May 17
Ombudsman criticizes penal expansion

The Public Defender of Georgia has responded to the May 7 Order No. 63 of the Minister of Corrections, Probation and Legal Assistance, according to which the capacity of penitentiary facilities has increased by 1,724 places, Rezonansi reports.

Increased capacities have been approved for eight prisons, as a result of which the total nation-wide capacity amounts to 25,354 places.

"The May 7, 2012 Order should be unequivocally assessed as a step backwards, since no important and large-scale infrastructural changes have been made in penal establishments recently which would have justified the increase in the capacity. It should be noted that the current capacity, which is distributed [across] 17 establishments, exceeds the capacity which was distributed [across] 19 establishments (including the Avchala Establishment No. 10 and the Khoni Establishment No. 13 which were abolished in 2011) by 704 places. This, in itself, speaks clearly of the negative character of the aforementioned change," the Public Defender said.

Baghaturia calls Saakashvili "shameful"

Pirweli quotes Georgian Troupe MP Jondi Baghaturia as calling President Mikheil Saakashvili’s recent activities “shameful”.

“Azerbaijan has moved its border line and their border guards have occupied part of Davit Gareji monastery. Besides, on May 12, five people died as a result of flooding in Tbilisi. [It is] shameful that in such a period of time Saakashvili is in Milan shopping, attending concerts. The President, whose duty is to respect the memory of dead people, has left Georgia on the same day of the disaster and attended a football match in Slovenia and after that [went] shopping in Milan,” Baghaturia asserted.

Labour Party sends protest letter to Azeri Ambassador

The Labour Party has sent a letter or protest to the Azeri Embassy in response to the Davit Gareji monastery conflict, Rezonansi reports.

According to Party Secretary Kakhaber Dzagania, the Labour Party demands that Azeri border guards leave the area immediately and allow worshippers and tourists to enter the monastery grounds.

Dzagania also said that President Mikhail Saakashvili has fulfilled "all the enemies' dreams" by separating Georgia's territories and losing the border of the country.