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Police raids in Tbilisi

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, September 9
Fashion Designer Datuna Sulikashvili complained about the violation of his rights by police on September 8. He has sent an open address to the Ministry of Internal Affairs describing the incident. He says the police stopped him as he was driving in the streets of Tbilisi and ordered him to get out of the car. Sulikashvili says he refused to do so, after which the officers tried to drag him out. Sulikashvili has notified the MIA General Inspection regarding the issue. However, according to him, no official response has been made so far.

Another incident occurred on Shartava Street near the Tbilisi Municipal Government building the same night. A group of young people say they were drinking spirits outside a pub, for which they were fined 15 GEL. The people objected to the police sanction, after which they were detained. The police say the suspects were drinking vodka stolen from a nearby market. They say the police filed charges for robbery against youths.

Following several murders in the city, the Ministry of Interior Affairs has launched raids in Tbilisi. According to the ministry and the Georgian Dream government, the raids are legal, aiming at crime prevention. However, the opposition stresses that the raids have already caused several unpleasant incidents and demand the dismissal of the Interior Minister Aleksandre Tchikaidze.

Tens of grave criminal cases have been reported recently. Despite all this, the government denies that the crime rate has increased and points to the positive statistics in terms of the crime rate. However, the Prime Minister also ordered tough laws on purchasing weapons and better prevention of crime. Following a special order, the patrol police have been undertaking raids in Tbilisi’s streets.

Deputy Interior Minister Levan Izoria states that this is a brand new, special police control, which is in line with European standards

The parliamentary majority states that the raids might be awkward, but they are necessary.

“The raids are absolutely legal. In some cases the raids cause traffic jams or some other stoppages, but they are necessary for the safety of Tbilisi residents,” MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili said.

Fellow MP Irakli Sesiashvili stated that the raids should balance security and human rights issues.

“Policemen should not offend civilians during the raids. If such cases are reported, people should speak out about them,” Sesiashvili said.

The UNM has dedicated a special briefing to the raids and stated that this violates human rights in some cases. They claim that the MIA chief should be removed.

UNM MP Levan Bezhashvili also voiced the UNM position regarding the creation of a special commission working on the criminal situation in the country, which will be composed of politicians and experts.