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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 10
Washington to host meetings within U.S.- Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership

Washington will host the meetings between representatives of three working groups within the U.S.-Georgia Charter on the Strategic Partnership on December 9-13.

The schedule of the meetings is as follows: December 9 - meeting between the members of the working group on the issues of security and defense, December 12 - meeting between the members of the working group on relations between nations and cultural exchange, and December 13 - meeting between the members of the working group on the issues of economy, energy and trade.

The Georgian delegation is headed by the First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani.

The Georgian delegation has already left for the U.S. to participate in the meeting.

"We will consider the issues of cooperation in the spheres of defense and security. The next year is very important for Georgia. We will face many foreign challenges,” David Zalkaliani said, adding that cooperation between Georgia and the U.S. in the economic sphere, as well as the main foreign threats that we will face in 2014 will also be discussed.

US President sends letter to former PM Ivanishvili

US President Barack Obama has sent a letter to Georgia’s former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“It was a pleasure to work with your government during your tenure as Prime Minister of Georgia. As you leave office, I wanted to convey my respect for the role you played in Georgia’s continued democratic development and in the deepening of U.S.-Georgia relations.

The accomplishments during your term, coupled with successful elections and peaceful and democratic transfer of power, have strengthened Georgia. I want to thank you for Georgia’s support of our collective efforts in Afghanistan and appreciate the significant contributions and sacrifices made by the Georgian armed forces,” US President said in his letter stressing that he is looking forward to working with new Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, and will continue to support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration as well as its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“I send you my best wishes for much success and happiness in your future endeavors,” President Obama wrote.
(Rustavi 2)

Mikheil Saakashvili arrives in Moldova from Ukraine

Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili arrived in Moldova from Ukraine. On his visit to Chisinau, Mikheil Saakashvili met with former and current Prime Ministers. The parties discussed the situation in the region. A special dinner was organized to host the guest from Georgia, where Georgian music was played.
(Rustavi 2)

Chairman of Constitutional Court of Georgia elected member of Bureau of Venice Commission

Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, Giorgi Papuashvili, has been elected as a member of the governing body (Bureau) of the Venice Commission. Papuashvili has been a member of the Venice Commission since 2007. The Venice Commission's Bureau consists of a president and seven members, that are elected for 2 years and may be re-elected after this period, Papuashvili told reporters.

Representative of Georgia entered the Bureau of the Venice Commission for the first time. The Venice Commission consists of 59 member countries. Georgia has been a member since 1999.

At the 97th plenary meeting, Gianni Buquicchio was re-elected as president of the Venice Commission. According to Papuashvili, the president-elect will visit Georgia in January 2014.

Former deputy prosecutor placed in pre-trial detention

Tbilisi City Court has placed Davit Chkhatarashvili a deputy of the former Chief Prosecutor Murtaz Zodelava in pre-trial detention charged for organizing staged torture videos in a prison in Tbilisi.

Chkhatarashvili’s defense lawyers appealed to the judge with a motion to release him on bail, but the judge agreed with the Prosecutor’s Office and detained him.

The first trial hearing will be held January 27.

Zodelava attended Sunday’s hearing, but refrained from making comments to the media.

His deputy is charged with abuse of powers, organizing humiliation and mistreatment as well as falsification of evidence.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Prison Ministry asks inmates to end hunger strike

The Prison Ministry in Georgia Saturday called on prisoners to put an end to a hunger strike that has been joined by 146 prisoners all across Georgia. In Prison No 6 in Rustavi, nearly one-hundred prisoners have been on hunger strike for more than four days. Some of them demand to meet with the public defender and the minister of justice. About 19 prisoners are protesting in Prison # 15 in Ksani.

Nana Kakabadze, head of the organization Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights, announced the start of the hunger strike on December 2. She said the reason the prisoners are going to such a drastic step is a statement made by Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani that the government may postpone the setting up of a commission to determine errors and possible miscarriages of justice. The minister said the reason is a lack of financing in the budget. The prisoners regard this explanation as absurd, according to Kakabadze. The ministry calls for patience until the commission has been created, and assures that the health of the prisoners on hunger strike is under control and that they will be looked after.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)