Court Releases Georgian Opposition Leader Melia from Custody
OREANDA-NEWS. The Tbilisi city Court has decided to release from custody the chairman of the opposition party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili «United National Movement» Nikanor Melia, for whom the EU had previously made bail, reports the TV company «Rustavi 2». Earlier, the EU Delegation to Georgia reported, that the EU paid a bail of 40 thousand lari (about 11,5 thousand dollars) for the release of the politician.
Opposition leader Melia is accused of organizing the storming of the Georgian parliament during anti-Russian actions in the summer of 2019 in Tbilisi, which began after the visit of Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov to the country. The court initially released him on bail with the condition of wearing an electronic bracelet, but later the opposition leader defiantly removed it, for which he was elected a new bail.
Melia refused to pay the bail, after which the parliament deprived him of parliamentary immunity, thereby allowing the arrest of the opposition leader. After the court's decision to arrest him on February 17, Melia locked himself in the office of his party, outside he was guarded by other opposition members who, that they would not hand Melia over to the police.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned on February 18 due to disagreements with the team on the issue of Melia. He considered the detention of the opposition leader unacceptable, which, according to him, could cause an escalation of the already tense political situation in the country. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia suspended the process of detention of Melia after the resignation of the Prime Minister. Gakharia's place was taken by Irakli Garibashvili, immediately after being confirmed for the post of prime minister, the procedure for detaining the politician resumed, special forces broke into the building of the party office and, using pepper gas, detained the opposition leader. This was followed by protests by the opposition and it's supporters.
Earlier, the opposition and the Georgian authorities signed an agreement on a way out of the political crisis. One of the points of the document implies the announcement of an amnesty to all persons involved in the case of the protests in the summer of 2019, among which Melia is listed. However, the politician said that he refused to accept the amnesty and agreed with the EU proposal to pay the bail.