The messenger logo

Six people detained for violence at Marneuli polling station

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 14
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) stated that six individuals were arrested for committing and inciting violence at the N48 polling station in the village of Kizilajlo in the Marneuli municipality during the October 8 parliamentary elections.

The MIA said the detained people had exhibited extremely aggressive behavior during the incident.

“They called on citizens to break into the polling station, steal the ballot box and threw stones in the direction of police officers mobilized to preserve public order,” the MIA stated, and added that the offenders failed to steal the ballot box. However, as a result of the confrontation, several policemen, including deputy director of Kvemo Kartli police department, were injured.

The investigation is ongoing under article 162 (1) of the criminal code, pertaining to interference with the work of the election commission or violence/threat of violence in the polling station, election commission or adjacent territory.

The family members and relatives of the detained people protested the detention of the individuals. They say they do not know the whereabouts of the detained. The locals claim that a Special Forces squad violently broke into the houses of the detained men, then abused them and their family members.

“These young men were arrested as if they were terrorists. The Special forces officers violently broke into their houses and detained them without any explanations,” one of the locals told Imedi TV.

The detention of six people was criticized by members of opposition United National Movement (UNM) party.

UNM party members gathered in front of a police building in Marneuli early on Thursday and said the six people had been illegally detained. They claimed police raided the alleged offenders' homes and physically assaulted them and their family members.

The UNM majoritarian candidate in Marneuli, Akhmet Imamkuliyev reports the detained locals have nothing to do with October 8 incident and accuses the government in intimidation of the population.

According to him, the detained locals openly supported the UNM, and this was the reason of their arrest.

“This is intimidation of the population, because they know that I have a chance to win the elections in the second round in Marneuli,” Imamkuliyev stated.

Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs refuted these accusations and said no excessive use of force took place from any Special Forces officers during thedetention operation.