vano merabishvili

Vano Merabishvili. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The main court hearing in the case of the former interior minister Vano Merabishvili and the Kakheti governor Zurab Chiaberashvili will start on October 7.

The main defendant must remain in pre-trial detention until then, the court decided.

Both of them are charged with embezzlement in the election campaign before the parliamentary election in October 2012, concerning an employment program run by the National Movement.

Vano Merabisvhili asked the judge to lift the charges against Chiaberashvili, but added that he doubts that the judge can make an objective decision considering the pressure from the government.

He said he feels pessimistic about the final verdict.

“It’s a complete chaos in the country, a serious reduction in the budget,” he said. “The government cannot fulfill its promises. Soon it will be a problem to pay pensions and salaries.”

He said the only thing the government is left with is repression.

“All my relatives were dismissed or are being prosecuted under criminal law,” he said. “Mr Judge, I doubt you can make a fair decision with so much pressure. Maybe you can remove the charges from Chiaberashvili.”

On Wednesday, lawyers asked to lift Chiaberashvili’s bail conditions and free Merabishvili from pre-trial detention, but the judge didn’t agree.