Court accepts UNM leader Melia’s release after EU posts bail

  • UNM leader Nika Melia is likely to leave prison in the coming hours. Photo: Nika Melia’s Facebook page., 10 May 2021 - 17:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

Tbilisi City Court has accepted the release of the head of the United National Movement Nika Melia after the European Union posted Melia’s 40,000 GEL bail on May 8, following the EU-mediated agreement between Georgian political parties in April. 

After the completion of technical issues Melia will leave Rustavi prison where he has been in pretrial custody since February 23, 2021. 

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. 

Melia said that the 40,000 GEL bail was unfair and refused to post it within 50 days of sentencing. 

On February 5, 2021 the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office warned him of the possibility of his bail conditions being reversed to detention. 

He was arrested on February 23. 

The arrest further complicated the tension between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition which began after the October 2020 parliamentary elections. 

The political tension was finally resolved by the involvement of the European Council President Charles Michel. 

European Endowment for Democracy, on behalf of the EU, posted Melia’s bail, while the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association handed the money to the Georgian government. 

Posting bail before a court's decision is unusual for the Georgian judiciary.