EU delegation to Georgia: 40,000 GEL bail posted to release UNM chair Nika Melia

  • Nika Melia’s release was one of the key demands of the opposition in the recent EU-mediated talks between the ruling party and the opposition. Photo: Nika Melia/Facebook, 8 May 2021 - 15:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

A bail worth 40,000 GEL was posted in order to allow for the United National Movement (UNM) chair Nika Melia’s release from pretrial detention, the European Union Delegation to Georgia has announced earlier today.

This follows the understanding reached by the political parties on April 19, 2021 in the context of the EU-mediated agreement. 

We would like to warmly thank two independent organisations who agreed to lend their valuable support in this process: the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) who made the funds available and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) who transferred these funds to the authorities”, the EU delegation said.

This, the EU delegation said, is ‘another important step taken’ to end the political crisis in Georgia and implement the EU-mediated agreement. 

We expect this step to further facilitate all elected Members of Parliament to join the agreement and contribute to its implementation, in the interest of Georgia, its citizens, EU-Georgia relations and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic future”, the statement concludes.

UNM chair Nika Melia was arrested on February 23, 2021 for refusal to post bail shortly after the parliament approved Irakli Garibashvili's new cabinet.

Melia is charged with incitement to violence during the June protests in Tbilisi back in 2019 which were sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament. 

He was released on 30,000 GEL bail on June 27, 2020. However, Melia violated the conditions of his bail by publicly removing his surveillance bracelet and 40,000 GEL was added to his bail in November 2020. 

Nika Melia was elected UNM chair in December 2020. Photo: Nika Melia's Facebook page

Melia refused to pay the 40,000 GEL bail (within 50 days of sentencing) and on February 5, 2021 the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office warned him of the possibility of his bail conditions being reversed to detention. 

Melia’s release was one of three top demands of the opposition, along with the conduct of repeat parliamentary elections, in the recent EU-mediated talks between the ruling party and the opposition.