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Saakashvili heavyweights weigh in on detentions

by | Nov 17, 2012

Former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili feels the detention of a former deputy is a personal attack on him. (IPN.)

TBILISI, DFWatch — The long serving interior minister in Georgia has weighed in on the prosecution of his former deputy.

Vano Merabishvili, the powerful and feared former interior minister who last summer became prime minister, and after losing the parliamentary election was chosen as secretary general of the National Movement Party, claims the detention of his former deputy in the interior ministry is an act of harassment against him personally.

Also the mayor of Tbilisi has chimed in on the detentions: Mayor Gigi Ugulava vows to stand bail for the same official, who became vice mayor after the election.

The object of their concern is the former deputy Shota Khizanishvili, who used to be Deputy Interior Minister before moving to the post as Deputy Mayor of the capital, who was detained on Thursday, charged with abuse of powers, together with eleven employees of the Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry.

Merabishvili calls Khizanishvili’s detention harassment against himself.

He told journalists on Friday that Khizanishvili is his friend, the kindest person, who for nine years chaired the Interior Ministry’s administration.

«He was detained to personally harass me, as he is my friend and our families are friends as well,” he said, adding that Bidzina Ivanishvili should have no hopes that such steps will bring fear or concern. On the contrary, it will strengthen the National Movement Party, he said.

Thursday, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava said that even though the accusation don’t apply to the period when Khizanishvili was his deputy, he is ready to stand bail for him.

“I have known him for long time. I know he is a professional, a devoted and honest person. I am ready to get engaged and take any legal steps that I can, because I think this is political persecution,” Ugulava said.

The investigation is now in progress. Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili called for the former government to prepare psychologically, because the problems because of which people got rid of them will be investigated and the guilty will be punished.

“It won’t be unexpected that other persons may also face justice tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Usupashvili said.

Friday, the finance ministry informed that another employee of Tbilisi City Hall was detained for bribery.

Levan Metreveli is Chief Specialist in ecology and park service at City Hall.

“The investigation revealed that the accused person had a deal with a director of a company which won a tender by Tbilisi City Hall, which received a 3 000 lari bribe from him. In exchange he promised to increase the scale of the services in appropriate documents,” the ministry informs.



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