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The News in Brief

Friday, February 8
Bread price decreases in Tbilisi

The price of bread in Tbilisi has fallen by 5 tetri, chairperson of the Bread Producers’ Union Malkhaz Dolidze told InterPressNews. He said that the reason for the fall in prices was the increased amount of imported flour.“The border is open and flour has been imported to Georgia from Ukraine and Russia in recent days. We inspected the flour quality and it is good. If this continues, the competitive environment will cause the price to fall on bread and bakery products. "If the price of one sack of flour decreases by even 2 GEL, it will cause the price of bread to fall.” Malkhaz Dolidze said. According to Dolidze the cost of one sack of flour is 45-47 GEL. In Ukraine and Russia a sack of flour costs 44-45 GEL. (IPN)

Spring military draft begins

The spring military draft has begun. According to Military Draft Coordinator Gocha Kharshiladze 650 recruits between the ages of 18-27 will be conscripted this spring. Those who do not report for service will be fined 1,000 GEL. Kharshiladze said preparatory work is under way and the recruits are being medically examined. The process of enlisting the recruits will start from February 15th. The call up ends on 30 June. Kharshiladze said that the call up can be postponed by 18 months if a fee of 2000 GEL is paid. (IPN)

Interior Minister says scandalous videos have been found

Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) Irakli Gharibashvili discussed the state of crime in Georgia and the work of his ministry on the late night political talk show Position broadcast on Rustavi 2. Gharibashvili said that MIA employees discovered scandalous videos concerning the private lives of prominent members of the Ministry. He also claimed he discovered all his telephone conversations last year were recorded on tape and that a box full of audio CDs was found in the Ministry as well. The Minister said these materials will not be published; however, an investigation will be conducted.

Minister also said that allegations from the opposition about the fall in the price of illegal drugs and an increase in drug use are groundless. Gharibashvili claimed to have obtained surveillance video evidence of individuals distributing syringes in the halls of apartment buildings. He claims this was organized by certain political opponents to make it look like there has been a general spike in drug use since Georgian Dream came to power.

The Minister also denied accusations from the opposition regarding the release of organized crime bosses from prison as part of the general amnesty. Irakli Gharibashvili said not a single convicted organized crime boss was outside prison currently. (Rustavi 2)

Melnikov wants to be extradited from Ukraine to Georgia

The attorney of Ministry of Internal Affairs official Oleg Melnikov said his client welcomes being extradited back to Georgia and is prepared to prove his innocence in a court of law. However, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office says they have not received an official letter from Melnikov yet. The hearing on his extradition was held yesterday in a court in Kiev. On December 7th, 2012 Oleg Melnikov was arrested in Ukraine on the request of the Georgian government. He is currently held in pre-trial detention in Kiev. (Rustavi 2)

Pardon Commission assembles with new members on February 9th

The Pardon Commission will gather with new members on February 9th. Pardon Commission Chariperson Elene Tevdoradze told InterPressNews that 500 prisoners’ cases will be discussed and a minimal number will be given positive referrals for their release. “There are very grave cases among those to be discussed. Another issue is prisoners who have served half of their sentences. Presumably, a small number of prisoners will be given positive referrals from us.” Tevdoradze said. After the session, documents will be sent to the President. Tevdoradze said that the pardoned prisoners will presumably leave penitentiary facilities next Thursday. (IPN)

Kezerashvili to be wanted by Interpol

Former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili will soon be wanted by Interpol. The Chief Prosecutor’s office is preparing documents to send to Interpol. Currently, the former minister has been already charged in absentia. Kezerashvili has been accused of bribery and extortion. (Rustavi 2)

Guram Donadze Charged in Buta Robakidze Case

Former MIA press spokesman Guram Donadze has been charged for violation of authority which carries a five to eight year prison sentence if convicted. Guram Donadze has been charged with involvement in the murder of Buta Robakidze. Donadze's attorney made a statement that his client is not going to hide from justice and will return to Georgia to give testimony but declined to reveal his client's whereabouts. (IPN)