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The News in Brief

Wednesday, January 16
Kutaisi will die if parliament moves to Tbilisi - Mikheil Saakashvili

President Mikheil Saakashvili discussed the importance of the parliament building for Kutaisi. During his visit to Kutaisi University on Tuesday Saakashvili said by removing the parliamentary building from Kutaisi west Georgia would die.

“It is very fashionable to curse me nowadays. However, I and the United National Movement (UNM) have achieved electricity for you.” He said they also dealt with bribe-taking, fought against thieves and so on.

He said if the Parliamentary building will be removed from Kutaisi it would damage the country’s tourism prospective and reduce jobs accordingly. “To return parliament to Tbilisi would turn Kutaisi into a dead city, which means the whole western Georgia will die. (The Messenger)

MIA comments on allegations by young jazzman

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) has released a special statement in response to the allegations voiced by young Georgian jazz musician on Monday. Beka Gochiashvili accused Saburtalo police officers of pressure and insults during the interrogation. The 16 year-old jazz musician reported the details of the incident in his Skype interview with Rustavi2. According to the MIA, the ministry launched internal investigation, the results of which will become public. If it is confirmed that the officers exceeded their duties, threatened and intimidated Beka Gochiashvili and Lasha Gochiashvili during the interrogation, the ministry will prosecute the individuals responsible.

As a response the ministry has also published the details of the crime. It was the robbery of Nana Davitaia’s apartment on N63 Kostava Street. The robbery occurred on January 4th. The robbers stole a safe, in which Nana Davitaia kept 60, 000 EURO, USD10, 000 and gold worth of USD 300, 000.

The witnesses said in the testimony that several people had the keys to the apartment, including Beka Gochiashvili, who stayed there for one night. (Rustavi 2)

President Releases List of Ambassadors FM Wants to be Replaced

On Monday, the President’s administration released the list of Georgian ambassadors whom Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze wants replaced, among them are the ambassadors in Berlin, London, Brussels, Beijing and Ankara.

President’s administration released the Foreign Minister’s letter sent late last year to President Saakashvili, requesting that he dismiss about dozen ambassadors and to replace five others as part of a routine diplomatic rotation.

Since becoming Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze has said a number of times that she submitted a list of ambassadors to the National Security Council (NSC) and the President that she wanted replaced; she has also complained a number of times that the president was dragging out the process.

In early January President’s administration said that Saakashvili would replace ambassadors in several countries; the Foreign Ministry, however, said those changes applied to those diplomats whose term in office was expiring, but not to those the Foreign Minister was insisting in her letters to the NSC and the president to be dismissed.

The Foreign Ministry has declined to make a public list of ambassadors it wanted to be dismissed; the president’s office released the list on January 14 without specifying whether the President was going to accept the Foreign Ministry’s request or not.

The list includes: Georgia’s ambassador to Germany, Gabriela von Habsburg-Lothringen, who was confirmed on the post by the Parliament in November 2009; ambassador to the UK Giorgi Badridze, who was confirmed on the post in December 2008; ambassador to Belgium and the EU Salome Samadashvili, who was confirmed on the post in April 2005.

Others in the list are: Mamuka Zhgenti, permanent representative to the Council of Europe since early 2011; ambassador to China Mamuka Gamkrelidze; ambassador to Turkey Zurab Pataradze, who was confirmed on the post last June; ambassador to Kazakhstan Davit Mumladze; ambassador to Azerbaijan Teimuraz Sharashenidze; ambassador to Lithuania Giorgi Kerdikoshvili; ambassador to Bulgaria Levan Metreveli.

Ambassadors to the United States and the UN, Temur Yakobashvili and Alexander Lomaia, respectively, were also in the list; both of them announced after the October parliamentary elections about their intention to resign. (Civil.Ge)

Released political prisoner Irakli Topuridze dies

Released political prisoner Irakli Topuridze died Tuesday morning, law defender Nana Kakabadze told InterpressNews. Topuridze had been convicted of participating in the Mukhrovani riot. Kakabadze said Topuridze was kept in inhumane conditions in prison. Raising the responsibility of President Mikheil Saakashvili, Kakabadze said the president could not ensure the protection of human rights. 190 political prisoners were released by the amnesty law on 13 January. (IPN)

Political prisoners to appeal to new government to start procedures for president’s impeachment

People with the status of political prisoners will appeal to the new government with several requests. “The requests are the following: Parliament should start procedures for the president’s impeachment since there are so many political prisoners in the country. 2. The 13th of January should be declared as political prisoners’ day. 3. The Soviet Occupation Museum should be renamed as Museum of victims of Soviet Occupation and Political Repression. 4. Cases of political prisoners should become public so that the society could find out the truth. 5. An impartial investigation should be carried out into each case,” law-defender Nana Kakabadze said. According to Kakabadze all 190 political prisoners signed the declaration. (IPN)