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The News in Brief

Wednesday, November 12
Charges strengthened against Saakashvili over Gelashvili case

Criminal charges have been strengthened against the country’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili for organizing a physical attack on Valeri Gelashvili in 2005, which left the opposition Member of Parliament with life-threatening injuries.

"Based on the joint health expertise of Georgian and Lithuanian colleagues it was revealed that [Gelashvili] suffered severe injuries on his body that was life-threatening,” the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said today, November 10.

Initially health experts claimed Gelashvili only suffered minor injuries.

Nine years later on August 5, when the Chief Prosecutor’s Office first filed charges against Saakashvili for organizing, it said Gelashvili suffered many injuries in the attack.

The strengthened charges related to the 2005 attack on Gelashvili, who was severely assaulted by armed, masked men in Tbilisi.

In today’s statement, the Office said an investigation into the Gelashvili case was ongoing under Article 25-117 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which related to intended physical abuse causing severe health injuries on a person. The charge carried a prison sentence of 14 years.

Initially the investigation was completed under Article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which related to exceeding official powers. The charge carried a prison sentence from three to eight years.

Also today, the Office claimed Vano Merabishvili, the then Interior Minister and former top officials Erekle Kodua and Gia Siradze, will face similar aggravated charges in the same case.

Moreover, Kodua and Siradze were also charged with robbing Gelashvili, in particular for stealing "expensive personal belongings and a large amount of cash”. Defense lawyers state that the process is unfair as there were no grounds of strengthening the charges, as there are no new evidence in the case. (

Public Defender requests case materials of 5 arrested

We have requested case materials of the 5 arrested Ministry of Defense officials from the Chief Prosecutor's and now we are waiting for a reply, Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili told reporters.

According to him, he has a right to see the classified documents of the case and he will necessarily use this right.

"We have requested information regarding this case. We started to study the case by our initiation. Public Defender has access to classified materials and I will use this right in the near future. So far, I have nothing to say. The Prosecutor’s Office has to respond to our request within ten days," said Nanuashvili.

Five high-ranking officials of the Defense Ministry were arrested on October 28. They were accused of embezzling more than 4 million GEL. (IPN)

Georgia, OSCE discuss freedom of media in South Caucasus

The freedom of the media in the South Caucasus was discussed by Georgian Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usupashvili and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic during a meeting in Tbilisi.

The sides stressed the freedom and diversity of the Georgian media and the necessity to save it in the future, the Georgian parliament said Nov. 11. Mijatovic promised to assist in this issue.

The sides also discussed the activity of Georgian Public Broadcaster state TV channel and the process of its transition to digital broadcasting.

The course of the 11th media forum, recently opened in Tbilisi, was also discussed. (

“It is nonsense to talk about the annexation of Abkhazia”

Occupied Abkhazia’s de-facto Ambassador to Russia Igor Akhba has responded to the OSCE rapporteurs’ statement on the so-called agreement on integration and alliance between Russia and occupied Abkhazia.

“This is not a violation of international law. It is nonsense to talk about the annexation of Abkhazia. It has never been an integral part of Georgia”, Igor Akhba said.

According to him, “the sovereignty of the people of Abkhazia will be unconditionally protected according to the new agreement between Russia and Abkhazia”. (Frontnews)

Zurab Abashidze may have to leave vice-speaker’s post

Leader of the parliamentary majority Davit Saganelidze cannot see the necessity of dismissing the Free Democrats representative from the post of the committee head. As Davit Saganelidze told reporters, this issue should be solved; otherwise, order will be violated.

“This issue has not been raised yet. If we find out that the committee head has different points of view, then naturally this issue will be raised,’’- Davit Saganelidze declared.

The Free Democrats representatives hold several positions in the parliament. Zurab Abashidze is on the post of the vice-speaker. Last week Free Democrats made a statement about leaving the parliamentary majority. Meanwhile, member of Free Democrats Davit Onoprishvili said that Free Democrats representatives do not intend to quit the posts of committee chairs and other posts in parliament. (IPN)