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The News in Brief

Thursday, November 28
By Liza Mchedlidze

Detainee on June 20 case says he was asked to testify against opposition members in return for release

Zurab Budagashvili, who was detained during the June 20 rally, said he was being asked to testify against Nika Melia, Irakli Okruashvili and Gigi Ugulava at the penitentiary.

Budagashvili made a statement at the hearing. According to him, unknown people visited him and introduced themselves with false names and tried to psychologically abuse him, saying they work at Prosecutor’s office and threatened him with family members if he did not give their desired testimony. Detainee assumes they were from State Security Service.

Zurab Budagashvili says he refused to slander Melia, Okruashvili, and Ugulava and a week later his brother was detained illegally. He also says his other brother was threatened as well, being told they would bring him out of Germany.

Budagashvili says there is ‘psychological torture’ happening in jails and inmates are not allowed to make phone calls or see visitors and asks NGOs to pay attention.

Regarding the defendant's statement, Judge Alexander Iashvili stated that the court neither expresses any conclusions or assumptions, it has neither the right nor the obligation to do so. Iashvili explained that the relevant response will be provided by law and that he would send the appropriate notice to the appropriate authority.

Embassy of Japan held Working Meeting of Technical Specialists

The Embassy of Japan held a workshop, for different specialists working in Georgia on November 21. The goal of the meeting is to gather various NGO, governmental and academic sector specialists and discuss the challenges, such as poverty and ways to overcome it, environmental problems in Georgia and ways to resolve them, necessary infrastructure of development of regions and mountainous areas, etc.

The workshop was attended by specialists in infrastructure, agriculture, environment protection. Based on the recordings and analysis of the workshop notes, the Human Security Grant Program of the Embassy of Japan will renew its work and will continue receiving bids for grant competition in the nearest future.

Since the independence of Georgia, Japan has provided 176 grants within the GGP Grassroots Human Security Program, totaling over 17 million USD, in addition to other grant schemes. The GGP program aims to support human security in Georgia in the following priority fields: environment protection, agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare and education. The major principles behind the GGP program are overcoming poverty, sustainable development, inclusiveness and participatory growth.

1. Purchasing Medical Equipment for Nikozi Ambulance in Gori Municipality - within this project, medical equipment will be purchased for the Ambulance in Nikozi village, enhancing access to healthcare for the war-affected population;

2. Providing Second Hand Fire Engine in Batumi Municipality – within this project, fire engine, with the capacity to reach tall buildings will be provided to Batumi municipality, which has seen an increase in the need for emergency equipment;

3. Purchasing Garbage Collection Truck for Ozurgeti Municipality – within this project, garbage collection truck will be purchased for Ozurgeti Municipality, as the city announced its Green Strategy and plans to introduce garbage segregation for the cleaner environment;

Additional information about the grant program of the Embassy is available on the website of the Embassy

Giorgi Volski meets with members of French National Assembly

The First Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Giorgi Volski hosted the members of the French National Assembly, Vice President of the Commission on National Defense and Armed Forces, Joaquim Pooye and Representative of the Committee on Social Affairs Arolin Jeanvie.

The sides discussed bilateral relations between Georgia and France as well as various aspects of relations between the EU and Georgia. The meeting focused on issues of cooperation in the Eastern Partnership format.

“The guests expressed France's firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” reads the statement by the parliament of Georgia.