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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 6
More charges against lawyer of ex-government official

Georgian lawyer, Goga Oniani, who represented high-ranking officials of Georgia's former government, faces new charges including exceeding official authority.

The Prosecutors’ Office have accused Oniani of additional charges of exceeding official authority, forgery in civil service, falsification of evidence in a serious crime, political persecution and deliberate illegal detention.

In February, Oniani was released on 20,000 GEL bail after being charged with abuse of power, falsifying evidence and intentional unlawful detention.

Before he was a lawyer, Oniani served as the head of Gldani-Nadzaladevi Police Division of Tbilisi.

The Prosecutors’ Office claimed on 17 October 2011, while working for the police, Oniani carried out persecution against a person who had a different political view.

"In the absence of any factual and legal grounds, he illegally detained Georgian Dream supporter Levan Mdinaradze (also known as Dj Rembo). At the time the Georgian Dream was the opposition.

"Upon the instruction of Oniani, the detainee was located in the administrative building of Gldani-Nadzaladevi Unit without conducting his search.”

The Prosecutors’ Office believed Oniani planted the drug marijuana on Mdinaradze in order to compile artificial evidence against him, with the intention of falsifying evidence, before the investigator in charge of the criminal case looked over the case.

Furthermore, Oniani is accused of commissioning the investigator to indicate in the case files that he seized a narcotic substance from Mdinaradze. However in reality, this did not happen.

The Prosecutor’s Office said after speaking with Levan Mdinaradze, who was being illegally detained, Oniani pronounced he was punished because he distributed T-shirts which portrayed the Georgian Dream logo.

If Oniani is found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of up to eight years. (Agenda.Ge)

Georgia’s parliament to hold meetings in two cities

Georgian Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili has started working at the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The speaker explained it was only the first step in a gradual moving process.

“Parliament will be moved back to Tbilisi step by step,” he said, adding that he will be joined by more people there soon.

In 2011, President Saakashvili decided to have the national assembly in Georgia’s second city Kutaisi and the new building there was officially opened in May, 2012.

He claimed the reason was to develop the city, but others saw it as motivated by a wish to avoid Tbilisi, which was a stronghold of the opposition and frequent scene of massive anti-government demonstrations.

Usupashvili, from the Georgian Dream coalition which wrested power from Saakashvili in the election half a year later, said parliament will be moved back to Tbilisi, which remains the capital.

The location of parliament is written into the constitution, which therefore needed to be changed to accommodate Saakashvili’s decision. The new parliament is 250 km away from the capital, a distance it takes four hours to drive.

The Kutaisi building began being used after the parliamentary election in October 2012, but the executive government and other national bodies are located in Tbilisi. This distance between the legislative and other branches of the state complicates the work process, the governing Georgian Dream coalition argues.

The new government wants to move parliament back to the capital, but the process is complicated, because it requires another constitutional amendment and the Georgian Dream coalition doesn’t have enough representatives for that. And Saakashvili’s party, the National Movement, is against moving parliament back to Tbilisi.

The new government has still started refurbishing the old parliament building and preparations for its revival will end soon. Usupashvili said parliament in Tbilisi will be used for sessions of the parliamentary committees. Plenary sessions, though, will still be held in Kutaisi, because the constitution requires that they are held in the building that is legally the parliament, and that is the one in Kutaisi.

Members of the National Movement refuse to work at the parliament building in Tbilisi. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Prime Minister meets with Turkey’s new ambassador to Georgia

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili has met with the new ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Georgia, Zeki Levent Gumrukcu. At the introductory meeting, the ambassador and the Prime Minister discussed bilateral relationship and the prospects for future cooperation.

The head of Turkey`s diplomatic mission to Georgia thanked Prime Minister on behalf of the government of Turkey and expressed his hope that the partnership and joint projects would be successfully continued. (Rustavi 2)

Two arrested for printing forged diplomas

The officers of the Central Criminal Police Department, as a result of investigative activities, detained Merab I. (DOB 1957) and Davit Ch. (DOB 1961) for the illegal production, purchase and selling of forged official documents.

The investigation established that Merab I and Davit Ch. produced forged bachelor’s diplomas of various universities with old dates in exchange for 4,000 GEL. The detainee’s also received $5,000 USD for being admitted on the second course of a doctoral candidacy.

Detainees produced forged diplomas in Tbilisi at one of the computer service companies, while the Rector’s signature was forged by Davit Ch.

During the searching activities held in the apartment of Merab I. police seized 2,500 GEL and 56 forged diplomas.

The investigation also established that Davit Ch. was convicted in 2010 for production of forged diplomas.

Both of the detainees have pleaded guilty. (Rustavi 2)