UNM opposition leader Nika Melia refused bail

  • Opposition leader Nika Melia says that he is politically persecuted. Photo: Rustavi 2.

Agenda.ge, 13 Apr 2021 - 16:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

The leader of the United National Movement opposition party (UNM) Nika Melia was refused bail earlier today. 

The Judge of Tbilisi City Court Nino Chakhnashvili dismissed Melia from the courtroom because Melia called her ‘a slave’ (of the current government). 

 The opposition parties which have been demanding Melia’s release for about two months have stated earlier today that the government ‘is not willing to ease the current political tension’ and that Melia ‘remains a political prisoner.’ 

Melia was arrested on February 23, 2021 for his refusal to pay bail. 

His release was among top demands of the opposition in the EU-mediated talks last month. 

However, the mediation efforts ended without the result. 

Melia was arrested at UNM head office in the outskirts of Tbilisi. Photo: IPN. 

What is the case about? 

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 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. 

On February 18 Georgian PM Giorgi Gakharia resigned ‘because he failed to make an agreement with the ruling Georgian Georgian Dream party over the arrest of Melia.’