Georgian ombudswoman, NGOs condemn Melia’s arrest

  • Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria stated that Melia’s arrest was ‘shameful.’ Photo: Public Defender’s press office. 

Agenda.ge, 23 Feb 2021 - 12:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria and Transparency International Georgia NGO have condemned the recent arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia and stated that the move will further complicate current political tension in the country. 

Lomjaria posted on her Facebook page that the arrest was ‘shameful’ and that it will ‘cause Georgia’s alienation from the west.’

 

TI Georgia stated that the Georgian Dream government could ‘discharge’ the situation through ‘legal and non-forcible ways.’ 

They said that the government should have waited for the judgement of the Court of Appeals into Melia’s case. 

The arrest of the biggest opposition party is the continuation of aggressive rhetoric of new PM Irakli Garibashvili,” said the NGO and urged the international community to give ‘due reactions’ to the issue to ‘help the country retain its democratic achievements.’ 

Georgian law enforcers detained the new head of the United National Movement opposition party Melia earlier today for refusal to post bail.

He 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 has 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. 

On February 16 The Georgian Parliament suspended the MP status of Melia and allowed the country’s Prosecutor’s Office to request his arrest by the court. 

On February 17 Tbilisi City Court ruled that Melia be remanded into custody for failure to post bail. 

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