The lawyers of two detainees who have been accused of withholding materials from a border agreement with Azerbaijan that ended ‘against the interests of the state’ will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the refusal of a court to grant them bail.
Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilichova were detained on October 7 by the country’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office. On October 9, Melashvili and Ilichova were sent to pre-trial custody by the court.
Lawyers of Melashvili and Ilichova told Rustavi 2 today, that ‘the case is politicized and their imprisonment is unreasonable’.
The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office claims that the detainees hid an original map issued in 1937-38 and instead used other maps based on which border sections between Georgia and Azerbaijan were agreed against the interests of Georgia.
An official statement of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office reads that Iveri Melashvili, the head of the Department for Border Relations with Neighbouring Countries and Natalia Ilichova, Chief Inspector of the Land Border Protection Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, hid the original map from 1938 from the border commission members and instead used a 1970-80 map in the process of demarcating the border, leading to the forfeit of about 3,500 hectares of lands against Georgia’s interests.
Since the collapse of Soviet Union back in 1991, out of its four neighboring states Georgia has agreed upon its borders only with Turkey.
Only two-thirds of the state border has been agreed upon with Azerbaijan so far, which on several occasions triggered tension in David Gareji last year.