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Merabishvili’s trial postponed

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, November 7
Former Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) Vano Merabishvili’s trial was postponed until November 19. During Wednesday’s trial, Merabishvili stressed that the current government of Georgia is undertaking pressure on all the police officers who do not support the coalition's approach. Merabishvili asked all the police officers who are under pressure to pardon him as, according to him, he failed to protect them. He also asked the pardon to the families of those police officers who were killed on duty during his being as a minister.

There are several charges against Merabishvili. The November 6 trial concerned exceeding official powers with aggravated circumstances in connection to the break-up of a protest rally in Tbilisi on May 26, 2011.

The defense stated that the Minister of Justice should have carried out a legal pursuit against Merabishvili, as the latter held a high political post. The court did not meet the demand. According to the court’s explanation, the law will not grant special immunity to the former officials and, through the initiative of the court, the trial was postponed.

During the trial, Merabishvili focused his attention on the police in the period of the former President Eduard Shevardnazde and emphasized that Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) team has totally changed the criminal system within police structures.

“The public supported the reforms and felt advantages through the reform. Of course, the Shevardnadze period officials were irritated and expressed their hatred towards the reformed system. They lost their illegal incomes and privileges. Currently, some of the Shevardnadze officials are in power and leading the processes against us,” Merabishvili said.

Merabishvili stated that the current Georgian Dream administration is even afraid of “Merabishvili’s shadow,” fighting against his personality through his discrediting.

The former MIA head stressed that the “abuse of the former government members is the only obvious activity of the current government, which failed to fulfill its election promises.”

Prosecutor Natia Mezvrishvili protested Merabishvili’s speech during the trial, stating that the speech had no common ties with the case. She stressed that the accusers have much evidence concerning the May 26 events against Merabishvili and the evidence will be revealed on November 19.

The former government members feel that Merabishvili is a victim of political pursuit. They state that the man who modified the police system should not be in prison.

“It is very hard to see Merabishvili in the court. He is being judged for the fact that he did not allow civil war in Georgia on May 26,” UNM representative, Dimitri Shashkin said.

Majority members claim that legal process is ongoing concerning Merabishvili and all citizens should be equal against legislation.

Coalition representative Gia Tsagareishvili stressed that the UNM has created an extremely politicized police system, which is now being cleaned under the new government.