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The News in Brief

Friday, June 13
Georgia advises citizens not to travel to Iraq

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry is warning its citizens not to travel to Iraq due to an "extremely tense” situation in the country.

The Ministry called on those Georgians who already were in Iraq to be "very careful”.

The situation has been extremely unstable in Iraq’s Nineveh Province since June 6. After a long fight, the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Levent (ISIL) took control of Mosul, the second largest city in the country.

Officials said rebels were now moving toward the Salah ad-Din Province. Local residents were being evacuated from the area.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked the country’s Parliament to declare a state of high alert and provide locals with guns to protect themselves against rebel forces.

In case of emergency, all Georgian citizens in Iraq were asked to contact the Georgian Embassy in Jordan, which is also accredited in Iraq, by phoning + 962 797299799. (

German experts still missing

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and its emergencies agency, rangers of the environmental ministry and defense ministry officers are carrying out a joint operation to find the missing German environmental expert, Hans Hoeffel. The 73 year-old scientist was last seen in the evening on June 8th and has been missing since then. People saw him in the Borjomi-Kharagauli national protected area. He works on environmental issues.

Hans Hoefle arrived in Georgia under the invitation by the international cooperation society, GIZ. (Rustavi 2)

Landslide hits Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze main highway

Reportedly, a landslide has hit Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze main highway and blocked the normal flow of traffic to the west via Gomi-Sachkere road.

As an InterPressNews correspondent informs, due to strong rain a landslide occurred near the Rikoti tunnel last night.

Road cleaning work was underway all night yesterday; a traffic flow will be restored in the near future. (ipn)

IRI observers arrive in Georgia

Part of the group of international observers who are going to monitor local government elections in Georgia has already arrived in the country. The representatives of the International Republican Institute, IRI, say the June 15th elections will be the next test of democracy for Georgia and they hope the elections will be successful.

Twelve observers of the IRI will observe elections in twelve self-governing cities of Georgia.

“We are going to observe local elections here in Georgia. We do believe that it is a very important milestone and the level of interest in this election shows the maturation of Georgian politics,” Bakhtir Nishanov, the IRI observer told Rustavi2.

More international observers are expected to arrive in Georgia during the next few days. (Rustavi 2)

Freedom house reports quality of democracy improved

The organization published the report on "the countries at the transitional stage - 2014".

As Radio "Liberty" reports, the evaluation of the quality of democracy in Georgia has been upgraded to 4.68 points compared with last year’s 4.75 points. The authors of the report stated that the electoral process in Georgia is rated with 4.5 points, judicial independence with 5 points, and media independence with 4 points. Georgia has the highest rate of growth in democracy from 2005 to 2014 - it has improved by 0.28 points.

Russian Citizen from Chechnya Sentenced in Georgia

The court in Batumi sentenced a Russian citizen from Chechnya, Yusuf Lakayev, to 12 years in jail after finding him guilty of the attempted murder of a Georgian law enforcement officer and of illegally entering the country.

Lakayev is wanted by Russia for a separate case as he is suspected of murdering a Russian diplomat and his wife in breakaway Abkhazia.

Lakayev, 25, was arrested in Georgia’s Black Sea town of Batumi on September 13, 2013 after a shooting incident in which three people were wounded – Lakayev himself and an officer from the Georgian counterintelligence service. According to the prosecution, Lakayev opened fire after the police approached him and his two Georgian companions to check his identification documents.

Lakayev’s two companions were Georgian citizens, Piruz Tsulukidze, Georgia’s Greco-Roman wrestling junior team member and his coach and religious mentor Temur Bakhuntaradze. Two Georgian citizens, who denied all charges, were acquitted in connection to the illegal keeping of firearms, but were found guilty of assisting a person illegally present on the territory of Georgia and of resisting police; Bakhuntaradze was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in jail and Tsulukidze to 2 years in jail; both of them were also fined for GEL 2,000. The nine months spent by the two men in pre-trial detention before the final verdict was announced on June 11 should form part of the punishment. (