Council of Europe: no need for former Georgian interior minister to be released

  • Former Interior and Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili. Photo: RFE/RL, 4 Dec 2018 - 19:34, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe released a consolidated statement, reporting that domestic courts of Georgia fairly detained former Interior Minister and PM of Georgia Vano Merabishvili.

The decision comes in response to a demand to have the former minister released.

The meeting was held today in Strasbourg.

Merabishvili claimed his pre-trial detention had not been governed by legal rules and sentencing him to prison was unreasonable.

Merabishvili also claimed his pre-trial detention served the purpose of excluding him from being involved in the country’s political life, as he was appointed Secretary General of UNM after the 2012 Parliamentary Elections and he intended to participate in the 2013 presidential elections.

Merabishvili, one of the most influential figures of the United National Movement, was detained in 2013 and sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for abuse of power, misspending of budget funds and bribing voters.

In September 2016 Merabishvili was further sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for charges related to the beating of opposition lawmaker Valeri Gelashvili in 2005.

The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe’s statutory decision-making body. It is made up of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of member states.