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The News in Brief

Thursday, June 14
OSCE intends to open office in Georgia

The OSCE wants to open an office in Georgia, OSCE Chair-in-Office, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore, said at a press conference held with his Georgian counterpart, Grigol Vashadze.

The organization is working on various proposals regarding opening an office in Georgia, a move which would require a consense. Gilmore, as Chair, affirms that he will do everything in his power to persuade Russia of the necessity of an OSCE presence in Georgia. He expressed hope that it would happen soon, and would contribute positively to the Geneva talks.

A delegation from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights arrived in Georgia on June 11, and will leave on June 16. (IPN)

GYLA provides legal advice to striking Ilia University English teachers

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) will provide legal services to Ilia University's English language centre teachers. GYLA representative Lika Tsiklauri met with the teachers this week.

The teachers are protesting changes to the centre. They say the university administration has handed over management rights to the British Council, and the majority of teachers now face the threat of losing their jobs.

The teachers claim that the British Council plans to open a new employment contest and hire only 40 teachers. Currently, there are 150 teachers at the centre, who went through an employment competition two years ago and signed a contract that has yet to expire.

The teachers refuse to deliver lectures as a sign of protest, though Tsiklauri has advised them to continue teaching. She explained that not giving lectures in accordance with the contract may be enough legal foundation to dismiss them.

The teachers intend to send a letter to the Ilia University administration and British Council management, demanding further information about the reorganization, future tenders, and existing vacancies. (IPN)

Public Defender takes case of man allegedly beaten by police

The Public Defender has recommended that Chief Prosecutor Murtaz Zodelava launch an investigation regarding physical abuse of Zurab Labakhua by Senaki police officers.

The Public Defender’s Office released a statement asking that a court-ordered medical examination be conducted as soon as possible, to ascertain the age, severity, and character of the injuries on Labakhua’s body.

On June 8, Nona Labakhua spoke with the Public Defender. She claims her husband was brutally beaten by Senaki police officers after being detained.

“On June 11, an envoy from the Public Defender spoke to Zurab Labakhua. The prisoner reported that he was walking on Chknondideli Street in Senaki on June 3, when a stranger dressed in black grabbed him by the neck, [assaulted] him, and called others too. The prisoner says that another four people came to him and started to beat him. Then he was handcuffed, put in a car and taken to the Senaki police station. The detainee says that his family members and neighbours witnessed how he was beaten in the street. He says that he was hit and verbally abused in the car too, before arriving at the police station," the Public Defender's statement reads.

Labakhua reported feeling unwell several times in the holding cell, and emergency aid was called four times. On June 5, he was taken to Senaki regional hospital. An external examination found that Labakhua had a bruise around his right eye, bruises on his left kidney and both knees, along with bruising and swelling of the left ankle. On June 6, a doctor at the prison where Labakhua was being held found bruises, as well as scratches and a laceration on his forehead.

When a representative of the Public Defender's Office visited Labakhua on June 11, the prisoner still had various injuries. (IPN)

Unique archaeological discovery in Tbilisi

Yet another unique discovery has been made in Tbilisi. The owner of patch of land in the Isani-Samgori district of the capital found various types of hand-made clay dishes in the vicinity of the 31st aviation factory.

Archaeologies later found a clay pot, jug, and tray. A dish is suspected to be part of a sepulcher inventory. Remains of a human skeleton were also found, although they have yet to be exhumed or examined in detail.

The discovery dates back to the 9-10th centuries BC, and will be sent to a museum. (Rustavi 2)

Independent television companies blame government for hardship

Representatives from three commercial television companies - Global TV, the Ninth Channel and First Stereo - held a joint press conference today, to complain about the threat of bankruptcy. They accused the government of Georgia of suppressing particular media outlets, causing financial problems for the businesses.

"After the recent developments [of accusations of campaign finance law violations], our company has faced the threat of closure. After the court ruling, we'll have to remove all satellites which were installed on the territory of Georgia. It means the company will be closed," Alexander Rogers, one of the founders of the Global TV, announced. (Rustavi 2)