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The News in Brief

Friday, December 12
Two New Deputies of Interior Minister Appointed

Archil Talakvadze, who served as deputy minister of penitentiary system since late 2012, has been appointed as new deputy interior minister, PM Irakli Garibashvili said on Thursday.

In other changes, first deputy interior minister Giorgi Zedelashvili has been replaced; he will become deputy secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council. Vakhtang Gomelauri, who was deputy interior minister, will now become the first deputy minister.

Head of the Special State Protection Service (SSPS), Teimuraz Mghebrishvili, was moved to the post of deputy interior minister.

Anzor Chubinidze will replace Mghebrishvili as new head of SSPS – the agency in charge of providing security to high-ranking officials, as well as security of various state facilities and buildings. Chubinidze, who was ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s chief bodyguard, has once already served on this post when Ivanishvili was the PM.

These changes are the latest in series of recent reshuffles, affecting some of the senior and mid-level officials in executive government, as well as in GDDG, a leading party in the ruling GD coalition. (

Special representative of OSCE addresses Davit Usupashvili

Special representative of OSCE for the South Caucasus and member of the Portuguese Parliament Joao Soares has reportedly sent a letter to Head of the Parliament of Georgia, Davit Usupashvili.

In the words of Soares, he is carefully following the present developments in Georgia and is concerned with the government’s eagerness to use the justice system for political purposes.

“A number of international protagonists including several countries of OSCE/ODIHR have voiced concerns over the ongoing developments in the country as well as the fact that the members of the left-wing party are either kept into custody (in pre-trial detention) or cases have already brought against them,” reads the letter from the OSCE special representative for the South Caucasus.

According to Soares, these processes have hindered the country’s progress as well as the development of different democratic institutions.

As the Portuguese MP stresses, their move to prosecute Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and seize his family members’ property is exceedingly alarming.

“Despite the fact that all are equal before the law, these politically motivated cases undercut the credibility of the government’s allegation as per which they are resolute in their decision to protect the Rule of Law in the country,”- says the letter.

Joao Soares also appeals to the Government of Georgia to protect the Rule of Law as well as the OSCE standards and cooperate with the left-wing party to ensure the country’s democratic development. (IPN)

Rallies in Tbilisi and Batumi in support of jailed Azerbaijani journalist

Two demonstrations were held in Georgia Wednesday in support of the Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who was recently detained.

Ismayilova was placed in preliminary detention in Baku on December 5, after being subject to a travel ban earlier this year.

She is charged with causing someone to attempt suicide, which is punishable with from three to seven years.

Through her lawyer, she says the charges are absurd and are related to her work as an investigative journalist.

Many prominent regime critics have been jailed in recent months in a broad crack-down on dissidents.

Ismayilova is one of the leading investigative journalists in the country, writing especially about corruption, whose work to expose the business dealings of the family of President Aliyev has been an irritation for the regime and have been picked up by large media like the Washington Post, reaching a worldwide audience.

Georgian journalists and human rights activists, gathered in front of Azerbaijani embassy in Tbilisi. There was also a demonstration in Batumi.

Some of the posters read: “Freedom for Khadija Ismayilova”, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost”, “Azerbaijan government respect human rights law!”

Demonstrators handed the embassy an appeal which calls on the government of Azerbaijan to respect international human rights laws and stop the persecution of its opponents.

The consular office of Azerbaijan in Batumi did not accept the protesters’ appeal.

The latest problems with the authorities began for Ismayilova after she allegedly handed over documents to representatives of the U.S. Senate in February, 2014, which led to the government accusing her of being an American spy. She was prevented from leaving the country in fall, and was sued for slander of someone she identified as an informant for the domestic intelligence.

One day before the journalist’s detention, President Ilham Aliyev’s head of administration published a long article in which non-governmental organizations financed from abroad, and particularly Radio Liberty, are branded as agents of foreign governments meddling in the country’s internal affairs. The article describes Radio Liberty’s activities as ‘treason’ and specifically singles out Ismayilova, one of the station’s radio hosts. (DF watch)

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan visits Georgia

Within the framework of the visit Hovik Abrahamyan will meet with Irakli Gharibashvili. They will hold a joint briefing after the meeting.

The Georgian prime Minister will hold an official dinner in honor of the Armenian delegation.

Hovik Abrahamyan will meet Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili on December 12. The Armenian Prime Minister will lay a wreath at Heroes’ Square and visit the Gregorian church.

The Armenian delegation will leave Tbilisi on December 12. (Frontnews)