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Opposition activists are released from pre-trial detention

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, December 30
Three activists of the United National Movement opposition party and its affiliated group, Free Zone, who were detained on October 2, 2015 in connection to an incident involving a confrontation with a lawmaker from the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition, were released from Kutaisi Court in exchange for 3 000 lari bail for each person.

Nika Narsia, Mirian Deisadze, Kakhaber Gabunia and other UNM activists were holding a protest rally on October 2 outside the Parliament building in Kutaisi in support of Rustavi 2 TV, wherein they verbally and physically confronted GD lawmaker Davit Lortkipanidze.

The activists were arrested several hours after the incident, and the court in Kutaisi ordered the pretrial detention of the young men. They have been charged with Article 239 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code – a serious crime that can lead to a jail term between four and seven years.

After the detention of the Free Zone activists, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) expressed concern and warned against selective justice from the authorities and called on the government to treat everyone equally.

“We want elections to be held in a fair environment and we want the Georgian people and Rustavi 2 to win these elections and prove that we are right,” stated Nika Narsia after being released.

According to Mirian Deisadze, the decision of the court was a victory for the truth. He thanked every person who supported him and his friends and those who fought with them.

Members of the UNM also attended the court. UNM member Giorgi Tevdoradze congratulated the activists saying that it was obvious from the beginning that these people were right.

“It was obvious that the prosecution's arguments were weak and the defense’s strong arguments showed that there were no major violations of the law,” said Tevdoradze.

It should be noted that during the court process, the prosecution was demanding to keep the detainees in custody. The prosecution alleged that in case of release, the accused might flee the country. In response to the allegations, the defense side offered the court to hand in the passports of the detained individuals.