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The News in Brief

Monday, December 16
Pardon commission approves 54 applications

The president’s pardon commission gave a positive recommendation in 54 of recent applications from prisoners.

The commission which is one of two such bodies, the other one part of the government, was recently staffed by the new president Giorgi Margvelashvili.

On Friday, it reviewed about 160 applications from prisoners about early release. In 54 of the cases, it gave a positive recommendation, four of whom are minors. 15 prisoners will get their sentence reduced to half.

Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili, who is member of the pardon commission, said the review of several cases was postponed until the next session in order to study them in more detail.

He also said that a majority of the pardoned prisoners were convicted of drug related crimes.

The commission’s next session will be held in a couple of weeks. Friday’s session lasted more than 6 hours. The list of prisoners with a positive recommendation is to be sent to the president for approval and signing.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Defense Ministry’s former high official in custody

Former head of the Defense Ministry's Sales Department Alexander Ninua is in custody, in accordance of The Tbilisi City Court decision. Thus, the judge complied with the prosecution's petition.

"The defense agreed to the request of the prosecutor and the court did not have the opportunity to discuss a lighter sentence. Therefore, we granted the prosecutor's motion," the judge said.

Ninua’s lawyer has 48 hours to appeal the court’s decision, but he is not going to do so.

Mamuka Mdinaradze says the defendant intentionally provoked his arrest himself.Ninua pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a firearm.

Ninua’s lawyer says that his detainee wanted to be arrested because he had been terrified all year long. First he was asked to give evidence against ex-Defense Minister Kezerashvili and then his co-workers from the Sales Department were pressured to testify against Ninua himself.

Alexander Ninua was a head of the Sales Department of the Ministry of Defense when Davit Kezerashvili was Defense Minister.

Ninua was detained for illegal possession of weapons. The Tbilisi City Court is now discussing Ninua’s case.

Georgian Dream party calls on official to spend less from budget

The Minister of Energy Kakha Kaladze criticizes Chairman Avtandil Beridze of the Supreme Council of Adjara Autonomous Republic for spending the state budget money on luxury items.

Kaladze says that it seems like Beridze cannot realize his responsibility before the country.

"We do not mind to provide officials with the things that they need for their service, but it should be happening in accordance of the country’s general situation,” Kaladze said and added that there is no need of luxury cars.

Beridze is a member of the Georgian Dream party. The minister said that the party will discuss his case at the nearest meeting.

The chairman of the Supreme Council of Adjara had been driven in Toyota Prado and Toyota Camry produced in 2012. For the next year, he chose the same model but produced in 2014. The car will cost GEL 83,000 (about 49,000 USD) and it is going to be covered by the Adjara budget.

British, German and Hungarian pharma to enter Georgia

Foreign pharmaceutical companies are preparing to enter the Georgian market, according to the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs. Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko said on Friday that foreign pharmaceutical companies plan to start operating in Georgia and negotiations have almost finished.

The market in Georgia has been criticized for being dominated by only three pharmaceutical companies. Two years ago, then President Mikheil Saakashvili said that the pharmaceutical sector was monopolized and instructed the prime minister to solve the problem.

But the changes that were made did not lead to much change in practice, as shown in a study last year by Transparency International. The market remained monpolized and medicine prices are still the major problem for people.

Prices dropped slightly after the change of government in the end of 2012.

Sergeenko did not specify which companies are now preparing to enter the Georgian market, but said they originate in the UK, Germany and Hungary.

“It now depends on us how effectively we will manage to enforce quality control system in order to open the market and let these companies enter,” he said.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Iconic Georgian writer Chabua Amirejibi dies At 92

An iconic Georgian writer and Soviet-era dissident, Chabua Amirejibi, has died in Tbilisi at the age of 92.

Amirejibi became well-known in the former Soviet Union for his novel "Data Tutashkhia," which was translated into Russian in 1976.

The novel's major character, Data Tutashkhia, a Georgian outlaw of the Imperial Russian period, became a popular hero across the former Soviet Union after a blockbuster television show, "The Coasts," based on the novel, was aired in the late 1970s.

Amirejibi was also known for his lengthy gulag experience. He was arrested in 1944 on coup-plot charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison in Siberia.

After 15 years in prison, three prison escapes, and two death sentences, he was ultimately rehabilitated in 1959 and began his literary career in his late 30s.
(Radio Free Europe/radio Liberty)