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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 26
26 IDP families resettled

Several months ago IDPs occupied the vacant building in Baku Street in Tbilisi. The construction was very risky. It was nearly about to collapse. So after two months of negotiations, IDPs who had entered that building agreed to the offer from the Ministry of IDPs and moved to an alternative building. After 19 years of being without an official address the IDPs were settled and 26 families will meet New Year in the homes. The Ministry of IDPs assisted the families in the transport of their belongings. However, IDPs from the Zugdidi-Samegrelo region held a protest in front of the parliament building in Kutaisi demanding social assistance. Asking the parliament to assist them, IDPs worried they do not have the privileges like those living in Tbilisi have received. (The Messenger)

131 out of 430 inmates pardoned

The State Pardon Commission assembled on Tuesday to discuss the cases of 430 convicts, many of which were serving their sentences for severe crimes including drug-dealing, murder and sexual abuse. The members of the commission said most of these appeals will not be satisfied, but those who are pardoned, will be released by New Year. Commission Chairperson Elene Tevdoradze said after the session that 118 convicts will be released from penitentiary facilities 12 will be halved of their penalty, and 1 will be decreased by 1 year. Tevdoradze said the list of pardoned inmates includes drug users and people sentenced for economically motivated crimes. However, all of them have already served half of the sentence. (The Messenger)

The search continues for the Georgian soldier in Afghanistan - Defence Minister

A Georgian soldier is still missing in Afghanistan. “Based on information that we have from our partners, we can say that there is a great probability that our soldier is still alive,” Defence Minister Irakli Alasania stated. A group of Georgian soldiers led by the deputy chief of the joint Staff, Vakhtang Kapanadze is engaged into the search efforts; the group already left to Afghanistan. The Georgian soldier disappeared in Afghanistan on 19 December. (IPN)

Saakashvili will see New Year along with Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan

President Mikheil Saakashvili will greet the New Year along with Georgian soldiers participating in the ISAF operation in Afghanistan, the president’s Facebook page says.

Saakashvili will arrive in Afghanistan on the eve of the New Year. He will personally congratulate the soldiers on the New Year and will spend the New Year’s evening along with them at the military base. The President visited Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan on 20 February 2012 as well. (IPN)

Expert accuses Saakashvili’s government of criminal relations with business sector

Chairperson of the Georgian Development Research Institute, political expert Gia Khukhashvili, asserts that the government of Saakashvili dealt with the business sector with criminal links.

Khukhashvili said on Tuesday that the results of the survey conducted during past two months showed that the previous government compelled businesses to cover-up non-profile expenses, make illegal transactions and sell off business shares. Khukhashvili said he will send the survey results to international organizations and the proper governmental structures and if there is interest, he is also prepared to answer the questions of law enforcement. (Rustavi 2)

MP Akhalaia prepared to answer questions publicly

Zugdidi single-mandate MP Roland Akhalaia, does not intend to go to the prosecutor’s office for interrogation, though he says he is prepared to cooperate with the investigation and answer any questions publicly.

Reportedly, the investigation has questions to the Zugdidi MP regarding incidents of money and property extortion during the period when he was the prosecutor of the Samegrelo region, though no official reports have been made regarding the case.

The Minister of Justice abstained from specifying the details of the case.

Akhalaia was been summoned for interrogation by the Zugdidi Regional Prosecutor’s Office on Monday. (GHN)