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The News in Brief

Friday, September 21
Lasha Zhvania talks about attempts of pressure on patriarch by government

Lasha Zhvania, the head of the Patriarch’s International Charity Fund, spoke about possible government pressure on Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II in the light of his statements concerning the Gldani Prison scandal. Ilia II made a statement regarding the penitentiary system at 14:45 Wednesday and was visited by government officials Data Akhalaia and Soso Topuridze at 15:00.

‘We suspect that the government tried to put pressure on the patriarch, though it did not achieve the desired result. Half an hour after the meeting, the Patriarchate released another statement, which still condemned the torture of prisoners and said all festive church events planned for Sunday had been put off." Zhvania said.

Yesterday Ilia ll called on the public to set up a fact-finding commission to investigate accusations of inmate torture at Gldani Prison.

According to Zhvania the fact that the Patriarch called on the public to set up a fact-finding commission indicates he has little confidence in the government. (IPN)

Prosecutor`s Office arrested another person involved in prisoner abuse

The Chief Prosecutor`s Office has arrested one more person involved in the torture and abuse of inmates at Gldani prison, video footage of which was released by several TV stations yesterday. Chief Prosecutor Murtaz Zodelava announced at a news conference today that the detained person is Koba Chikvatia, the inspector of the juvenile section.

Zodelava also said that after investigating the crimes depicted in the video, two types of crime were revealed. The first type is a systemic one, in which all the guards of the penitentiary department were involved and the second is a group crime committed by two or three people, led by Vladimer Bedukadze and Levan Purtskhvanidze. Purtskhvanidze has been arrested and sent into custody, while Bedukadze has fled Georgia and is currently wanted by police.

Zodelava defined that Bedukadze and Purtskhvanidze were paid for taking the video of the prisoners` torture and rape, while two prisoners, Tamaz Tamazashvili and Tamaz Elizbarashvili delivered this footage to a third person.

An investigation is in progress to identify and arrest any other individuals involved in this crime. (Rustavi 2)

Free Georgia supports Georgian Dream candidates in 12 constituencies

Opposition party Free Georgia has removed its candidates in 12 constituencies in support for opposition coalition Georgian Dream led by Bidzina Ivanishvili. Kakha Kukava, the leader of the Free Georgia party announced his decision at a news conference today and said it was a decision taken unilaterally, without agreement with the coalition leaders.

Kakha Kukava calls on the voters to vote for Georgian Dream candidates on Election Day.

"The reality which we have in the country today has become graver. Considering the interests of the state and our society, we take the unilateral decision to remove our candidates in 12 constituencies and support the candidates of Georgian Dream." Kukava said. (Rustavi 2)

Baghaturia`s party demands President's resignation

Leader of the Kartuli Dasi movement, MP Jondi Baghaturia says the President of Georgia must be held accountable for the Gldani Prison scandal. Baghaturia says Saakashvili should take responsibility for the incidents of inmate torture at Gldani Prison and resign. This will be the main demand of the party during protests which are being held across Georgia.

`As of today we are beginning demonstrations not only in Tbilisi, but in other regions of Georgia too. At 5 p.m. today, Kartuli Dasi will rally in Avlabari at the president`s residence and demand his resignation." Baghaturia said and added that the first decision which will be taken by the new parliament after the elections will be the national large-scale amnesty of prisoners. (Rustavi 2)

Defense Minister met with Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery

Georgian Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin hosted the Deputy Director of Plans, Policy and Strategy, U.S. European Command Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the implementation of a six point agreement reached between Georgia and the United States.

Defense Minister Shashkin thanked the U.S. Rear Admiral for enhancing cooperation between the U.S.A. and Georgia in the field of defense. As part of this ongoing cooperation an American expert team visited Georgia to provide a close study of air-defense capabilities and deliver assistance to the Georgian military in strengthening air defense.

At the meeting the two sides also discussed the ongoing participation of Georgian peacekeepers in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. Shashkin stressed that it is very important for Georgia to be a significant contributor to world stability and security. He added that Georgia stands ready to expand its role as a major transit point for the ISAF mission. Shashkin also pledged to help supply and train Afghan National Security Forces once ISAF leaves the country in 2014. (Rustavi 2)

Ministry of Defence releases a statement

The Ministry of Defence has released a statement today concerning former Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) Corporal Giorgi Bokelavadze.. Channel 9 reported that Corporal Giorgi Bokelavadze of GAF Artillery Brigade II joined the opposition party “Georgian Dream” while participating in a rally of the coalition.

The Defence Ministry stated that Corporal Giorgi Bokelavadze is not currently serving in the GAF. He was dismissed on May 10, 2012.

"The Defence Ministry calls on media representatives and other political parties to cease the spread of all kind of speculation about the Georgian army." the statement read. (IPN)