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Merabishvili and Ugulava cases under legal framework

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, December 20
Public Derender Ucha Nanuashvili visited the former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, who is now in pre-trial detention since December 18. The Public Defender talked about Merabishviliís recent claims as if he was personally threatened by Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze to give testimony against the former President Mikheil Saakashvili and assist in investigating the reason of death of one of the inspirers of the Rose Revolution, Zurab Zhvania.

According to Nanuashvili, any allegation of pressure should be investigated to avoid any public vagueness.

Even though the Georgian Dream coalition members deny any political persecution against the former administration, the United National Movement (UNM) members keep claiming that the new government wants to get rid of opponents before the local level government elections take place.

Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Sozar Subari said Merabishvili was not taken out of his prison cell, thus, Subari said, the former minister is lying. The Minister also added that the surveillance recordings revealing whether or not Merabishvili had left his cell cannot become public unless the investigation had started.

Merabishvili was arrested in May and charged with abuse of power, embezzlement, and covering up a murder. He denies any wrongdoing.

Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava is also waiting for the court decision. Accused of misspending over 48 million GEL, money that was earmarked for the Tbilisi Development Fund, he may face 7 to 11 years in prison.

The Head of the Supreme Court, Konstantine Kublashvili, is confident that the court will make an objective decision on Ugulavaís case.

Commenting on the recent developments around the UNM members, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that on the one hand the rights of every citizen should be protected, while on the other hand, all the questions should be answered in the legal framework.

The President believes that the Prosecutorís Office will meet the highest western standards, especially as some people think these cases are politically motivated.

Parliamentary Chairperson Davit Usupashvili wants to see Georgia in such a reality, when any charges against any person, including politicians, will not be considered as political pressure, but as undertaking the rule of law and justice.

Usupashvili said each citizen should have the right to have and express their positions though the Prosecutorís Office maintains the discretion on whether to start or not the investigation.