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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 19
Georgia-Israel sign free-trade agreement

Georgia’s acting Interior Minister and PM-designate, Irakli Garibashvili, and Israeli Deputy Interior Minister, Faina Kirschenbaum, signed a visa-free agreement in Tbilisi on November 18, the Georgian Interior Ministry said.

The agreement, which is now subject to ratification by legislative bodies of the two countries before it goes into force, will allow Georgian citizens to stay in Israel without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a six-month period, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry.

Like with many other countries, Georgia now has unilateral visa free rules for Israeli citizens.

“Today we signed a really historic document,” Garibashvili said after the signing of the agreement, adding that it will further boost bilateral ties between Georgia and Israel.

The issue of lifting visa rules for Georgian citizens was raised by PM Ivanishvili when he visited Israel in June.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin said in late October, when he visited Georgia, that Israeli government decided in principle to lift visa requirements for the Georgian citizens.

Also on November 18 an agreement on cooperation in fight against crime between the two countries was signed as well.

Ivanishvili's GDDG to replace chairperson of its parliamentary faction

MP Giorgi Volski will become the new chairperson of a parliamentary faction of outgoing PM Ivanishvili’s party, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG), replacing MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili.

The decision was announced after a meeting of Ivanishvili with lawmakers from GDDG party on Saturday.

MP Irakli Sesiashvili, said that MP Kutsnashvili remains member of the GDDG faction. Precise reason behind this change remains unclear; Kutsnashvili was not available for the comment.

“We are the members of one team; sometimes there might be reshuffle, sometimes posts may change; but there is a unity,” MP Gia Volski, who will become new chairman of GDDG faction, told journalists.

GDDG is the largest faction in the parliament and one of those six factions which make up the parliamentary majority group. Other five factions in the group are representing those five parties, which make up the Georgian Dream coalition.

Volski, who was deputy state minister for conflict resolution issues in 2004-2007, is now a chairman of the parliamentary ad hoc commission on territorial integrity. MP Paata Baratashvili, who is an actor, may replace Volski as chairman of the parliamentary ad hoc commission.

It was also announced after the meeting, that reshuffle is expected in the main decision-making body of GDDG party on November 24 when the party holds its congress. PM-designate Irakli Garibashvili is expected to take the post of GDDG chairman.

GPB Board of Trustees disapproves amendments to the Law on Broadcasting

The Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB) disapproves the amendments to be made to the Georgian Law on Broadcasting. The Board believes that due to the draft bill that is to effect amendments to the Law on Broadcasting the broadcaster is to further face artificially provoked financial crisis for an indefinite period of time, GPB Board Chairman Emzar Goguadze said on November 15.

“Moreover, with these decisions the authorities and parliamentary majority are trying to shield and shelter a very comfortable enslaved management. Also trying their best to maintain absolutely embarrassing retrograde executive Tamaz Tkemaladze to the position of acting director general,” said the Board chairman.

The Board believes that the parliamentary majority and the authorities are conducting political persecution after the incumbent composition of the Board of Trustees.

“Most likely we will appeal the amendments to the Law on Broadcasting at the Constitutional Court,” Goguadze added.

He also spoke about the E-mail sent by GPB’s acting Director General Tamaz Tkemaladze to Lanchkhuti Municipality Sakrebulo Chairman Amiran Gigineishvili. Goguadze pointed out that the letter by Tkemaladze implies the signs of crime.

Draft bill provides for the amendments to Article 24, 25, 26 of the Georgian Law on Broadcasting - terms and procedures of electing candidates for commissioners by the parliamentary commission, authority of acting Board, and authority of new board members.

In case the Parliament supports amendments to be made to the law by all of three hearings the rules of election and appointment of Board members will come into effect on November 25. And the parliamentary chairperson will be within ten days made responsible for the contest for Board members.

After the enactment of this law until the composition of a new Board of Trustees the Board of Trustees shall not be entitled to make a decision unless supported by two third of listed members (at least 6 votes).

Interpol declares ex-Georgian Justice Minister wanted

Interpol has declared the former Georgian Minister of Justice, Zurab Adeishvili wanted, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on Nov. 15.

According to the ministry, Interpol declared Adeishvili wanted along with former Defense Minister, David Kezerashvili.

It should be noted that the Tbilisi City Court earlier granted the request of the prosecutor's office on arrest of the former Justice Minister, Zurab Adeishvili.

Zurab Adeishvili is on the run, he is accused on the case of Cartu bank's bankruptcy, as well as on other four articles of the Georgian Criminal Code, which include the inhumane treatment of prisoners and assistance in forging documents.

Kezerashvili is accused of misappropriation of $12 million of budget funds.

According to preliminary data, Adeishvili is hiding in Hungary and Kezerashvili is in a French prison and waiting for a decision on extradition.

Police raid brothels in Georgian sea resort Batumi

Police in Georgia have detained owners and administrators of fourteen hotels and clubs in Batumi and Gonio for allocating space for prostitution.

Police in Adjara conducted a coordinated operation in the coast city of Batumi and its suburb Gonio which led to the arrest of 14 people.

The owners and administrators systematically allocated rooms for women for prostitution and required money in return.

Police questioned personnel of hotels and clubs, as well as women as witnesses.

Valeri Telia, Head of Adjara’s main police department, told journalists that for the last ten months police have revealed 30 such crimes. Among them were five cases of international prostitution.

“Owners of all the objects which will be used for prostitution and named so-called hostel, will be strictly punished,” he added.

Prosecutors are only pursuing the owners of premises that are used for prostitution. The sex-workers and customers are not subject to prosecution in Georgia.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)