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The News in Brief

Friday, April 4
Driver tries to burn himself outside Georgian Dream

Rustavi-Tbilisi mini bus driver Aleksandre Mikeladze, who tried to light himself on fire during a protest outside the Georgian Dream office, gave explanations to the police station. According to the protesters, Zaza Chikhradze, a policemen, showed interest in why Mikeladze tried to light himself on fire.

A protest of Rustavi-Tbilisi mini-bus drivers was being held outside the Georgian Dream office. Protesters demanded a meeting with the party’s Secretary General Kakhi Kaladze. However, one of the protesters Aleksandre Mikeladze poured petrol over himself and tried to light himself on fire, but the police saved him.

The protesters demand abolition of the results of the contest declared on transportation of passengers as the winning company will have to serve the passengers with their own vehicles. (InterPressNews)

Prime Minister meets with the Constitutional Court chairman

Within the regional tour, the Prime Minister of Georgia is holding working meetings in the Adjara region. Irakli Gharibashvili visited the Constitutional Court where he had a face-to-face meeting with the Chairman of the Constitutional Court Giorgi Papuashvili, followed by an extended meeting.

The Prime Minister received information about the work of the court directly from the judges. The members of the Constitutional Court spoke about the restoration of trust in the court and acquainted the Prime Minister with the statistics of satisfied claims.

Gharibashvili highlighted the importance of the independence of the court and noted that one of the main priorities of the new government is strengthening democratic institutions.

The members of the Constitutional Court presented their vision, concerning the strengthening of the Constitutional Court, as one of the most important institutions, to the Prime Minister.

"The meeting was very fruitful. We spoke about the importance of the independence of the court and shared our visions. One of the achievements of our government is a system of an independent judiciary," Prime Minister said after the meeting. (Rustavi 2)

Kote Kublashvili says secret taping reduced, although still takes place

In an exclusive interview with InterPressNews the chairperson of the Supreme Court of Georgia Kote Kublashvili states that motions by the Prosecutor’s Office to the court on secret taping have been reduced by three times, and by 9 times in the regions.

As for the question whether this means that secret taping does not take place in the country, the chairperson of the Supreme Court said that it is difficult for him to answer.

“We cannot say this directly, as we cannot say that as innocent verdicts are one percent the court is not independent. The number of innocent verdicts has no direct relation with independence. For instance in Sweden, Israel, Japan and other states, the not guilty verdicts is 1-2%, though the court is considered a very independent system. As the number of not guilty verdicts is not directly linked with the independence of the court, we cannot say that as there are less motions on secret taping, no taping takes place. It is only the number, which officially enters court. It is a presumption in democratic countries, that apart from official tapings, after appropriate permission from the court, no other recordings are practiced,” the chairperson of the Supreme Court said.

He stated that the number of motions from the Prosecutor’s Office about preliminary imprisonment was reduced, though in 2014 the government has made the approach stricter.

“The new government demanded bail, so the number of people who were sentenced to preliminary imprisonment has been reduced. The judges granted bail to 7-8% of the cases where the Prosecutor’s Office motioned for imprisonment. If the number of individuals who were sentenced to imprisonment was 42%, in 2013 this number was reduced to 27%, but the government has made the approach stricter from 2014 and demands more imprisonments and in the last two months, early imprisonment was used in 35% cases,” Kublashvili told InterPressNews. (InterPressNews)

Hammarberg considers Tsiklauri’s case can be investigated in a short period

According to the EU Special Advisor to the Georgian government, Thomas Hammarberg, serious investigation should be carried out into United National Movement MP Nugzar Tsiklauri’s case as soon as possible.

Hammarberg said that after the meeting with businessmen and NGOs that similar cases, when an MP elected by people becomes a victim of violence, it is serious not only to him but to the country’s democracy.

“It is very important for similar cases to be investigated as soon as possible because when an MP elected by people becomes a victim of brutal violence, it is a serious case not only personally to him but also from the point of view of democracy. On the other hand, I think it is important not to hasten in making conclusions. A serious and transparent investigation should be carried out. In this particular case I know that the car plate number can be established since it was shot by cameras,” he said. Hence, he considers the case can be investigated in a short period. (InterPressNews)

More than 1 million visitors arrive to Georgia this year

Georgia is fast becoming a tourism destination by guests from all over the globe, with the latest figures revealing that more than a million international visitors spent time in Georgia this year.

Georgia’s unique culture, traditions and landscape was experienced by 1,006,267 people in the first three months of this year. This was 7.6 % higher than in the same period last year.

In January, 319,499 visitors spent time in Georgia and in February this number slightly dropped to 294,043 international guests.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed a boost in March, when 392,725 people crossed Georgian borders. This was an 8% increase on March 2013.

Last month, the highest number of visitors came from Turkey, followed by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine and Iran.

The Ministry said data showed a positive trend where more visitors from European Union countries continued to visit Georgia.

The number of visitors from Italy, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Middle East, Israel, Belarus and Moldova has also been increased year by year. (Agenda.Ge)