Man released on bail after partial confession to crime at Tbilisi June 20 rally

  • Levan Jikuri says he acted on his own and not with other people during the June 20 rally in central Tbilisi. Photo: RFE/RL

Agenda.ge, 8 Oct 2019 - 17:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

Levan Jikuri, who was charged with violence committed by a group at the June 20  rally in Tbilisi, has been released on 2,000 GEL [$672] bail after admitting to his presence at the demonstration and using a shield against police.

Jikuri, who suffers from serious lung and joint problems, told the media that “I have been on hunger strike for 50 days to be released.”

Jikuri continues to dismiss his involvement in group violence, leading to the dispersal of the June 20 rally in central Tbilisi.

I came to the rally with my wife to stand by the people who were being shot at [by rubber bullets]. I used the shield to defend myself,” Jikuri said after being released.

The prosecution said that Jikuri and his lawyer “approved all the evidence presented against the defendant.”

The partial admission to the crime and health issues have been cited as the reason of the release on bail by the judge.

More police officers than protestors have received the victim status in terms of June 20 protest. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association says based on the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office that 17 civilians and three police officers have been charged so far regarding the June 20 rally.

The NGO reports that 67 law-enforcers and four protestors have been granted the victim status, the figures which are strongly criticized by the opposition and NGOs.

The Tbilisi protests, which were sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament earlier on June 20, turned into a violent clash between protesters and police in front of the parliament of Georgia.

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into police actions during the rally dispersal. 

Then Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said in his televised interviews that the rally became “violent” starting at 10 p.m. following “a systematic and organised” attack on the parliament building on June 20.

Gakharia also said that he gave an order that the rally was dispersed after a part of the demonstrators decided to storm the parliament building.

The dispersal left 240 injured and 305 detained.

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