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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 23
Prosecutors drop case against Georgian ECHR judge’s brother

Prosecutors in Georgia have dropped a case against the brother of a judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), who said the investigation was connected to her work. None Tsotsoria (center) is a judge currently serving at the European Court of Human Rights.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) called off the probe without indicting Otar Tsotsonia, concluding that a pistol and bullets found in his apartment belonged to his late father-in-law.

“The forensic examination revealed that the confiscated revolver was made in a makeshift manner, is not suitable for firing and [therefore] cannot be categorized as a firearm. The cartridges belong to the category of ammunition and are suitable for use,” POG said in a statement released on Saturday.

Investigators concluded that the pistol and cartridges belonged to Otar Tsotsoria’s father-in-law, who died on May 11, therefore the prosecution didn’t proceed with the indictment, the statement goes on.

Otar Tsotsoria, who owns the apartment where the pistol and ammunition were found, is brother of Nona Tsotsoria, a judge representing Georgia at the European Court of Human Rights.

This raised suspicion that the police raid might somehow be linked with the position of Nona Tsotsoria, who is seen as a supporter of the former government.

“I have reason to believe that [the police raid] is related to my work at the European Court of Human Rights,” Nona Tsotsoria wrote on Facebook on Friday. However, on Saturday her account was deleted.
(DF watch)

Imereti regional losses exceed 600,000 GEL

The losses the Imereti region experienced as a result of recent extreme weather have exceeded 600,000 GEL, preliminary reports say.

As Imereti Governor Soso Khakhaleishvili has declared, the severe rainfall has caused problems throughout the region. “We will provide assistance to all who experience problems,” he said.

The Rioni River flooded houses in the village of Zhoneti as a result of bursting its banks.

Georgia experienced heavy rain for several days, and bad weather is still in the forecast.

Georgia gains 5 medals at European Sambo Championship

Georgia's national sambo team gained two gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the European Sambo Championship, currently underway in the Belarus capital of Minsk.

Levan Nakhutsrishvili become the European champion in sambo in his weight class among men, while Nino Odzelashvili triumphed in her weight class among women.

The silver medals went to:
• Vakhtang Chidrashvili (57kg);
• Paata Gviniashvili (90kg)

The bronze medal went to:
• Levan Berberashvili (52kg).

Sambo is a Russian-style martial art and combat sport. The word sambo is an acronym, which literally translates in English to ‘self-defence without weapons’.

EU Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee delegation to visit Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia

A Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, led by its Chair David McAllister (EPP, DE), will travel to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia on 22-25 May to meet the Presidents, Speakers, parliamentarians from the ruling as well as opposition parties and civil society representatives. The 8 Members of the European Parliament are to take stock of a recent deal on a new EU-Armenia agreement, the advancement of negotiations on a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement and the deepening of EU-Georgia relations, foreign sources reported.

As reported, ahead of the visit Mr. McAllister said: “My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to our visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia next week. This is a region of great importance for the European Union and a major counterpart to our Eastern Partnership policy. We share many interests, notably in terms of promoting peace, security and trade, and we also seek to uphold our values – especially democracy, rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms – as we seek to further deepen our partnerships.”

In addition to Mr. McAllister, the EP’s delegation will be composed of seven MEPs: Mr. László Tokes (EPP, HU), Ms. Željana Zovko (EPP, HR), Mr. Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, LV), Mr. Angel Dzhambazki (ECR, BG), Mr. Ivo Vajgl (ALDE, SL), Mr. Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL, DE) and, representing the interparliamentary delegation, Ms. Heidi Hautala (Greens, FI).

The delegation is planning to visit Azerbaijan on 22 May and meet the incumbent authorities, including President Ilham Aliyev, the Chairman of the Milli Mejlis Ogtay Asadov, and parliamentarians, as well as with civil society representatives. On 23 May, the MEPs will head to Georgia to meet President Giorgui Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, civil society organisations and to visit the EU monitoring mission (EUMM Georgia) in Mtskheta on 24 May. The EP’s delegation is to finish its mission in Armenia on 25 May with meetings with President Serzh Sargsyan, the Speaker of the National Assembly and a visit of an EU funded field project.

The EU is currently reshaping its relationship with Armenia and Azerbaijan through new agreements for which the negotiations have just ended (Armenia) or just started (Azerbaijan). The MEPs’ visit will feed into the European Parliament’s report and recommendation on these agreements to be drawn up later this year.