PM Garibashvili: Melia is a criminal, everyone is equal before the law

  • Parliament approved Irakli Garibashvili as the country’s PM yesterday. Photo: parliament of Georgia press office., 23 Feb 2021 - 12:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has responded to the arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia earlier today and stated that ‘Melia is a criminal’ and that everyone in a democratic state is equal before the law. 

Melia has been found guilty in the Cartu Bank case and earlier today, Georgian police arrested him in a special operation for another case he is charged in. During the June 2019 protests Melia encouraged people to engage in violence and tried to break into the parliament building,” Garibashvili said. 

Garibashvili stated that the government and the law enforcers acted ‘in full line with democratic standards.’ 

We are building a democratic state and everyone in the country, no matter to their taste and political views, must obey the law,” Garibashvili said. 

Garibashvili thanked police and stated that ‘I am proud of you!’ 

Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze stated that Melia ‘deliberately chose a provocative way to further escalate the situation’ in the country. 

Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze said that Melia deliberately refused to pay bail. Photo: parliament of Georgia press office. 

When someone disregards the law and attacks state institutions the response will be like that in any democratic state,” Talakvadze said. 

He stated that Melia will be able to defend himself in a ‘fair court.’ 

Tbilisi Mayor and Secretary General of the Georgian Dream ruling party Kakha Kaladze said that ‘unfortunately, people in Georgia still disregard the law.’ 

He praised the police for the special operation ‘which ended without any serious incident.’ 

Melia is charged with incitement to violence during the June protests in Tbilisi back in 2019 

Kaladze said that Melia disregards the law. Photo: Kakha Kaladze's press office. 

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.