TBILISI, DFWatch–For several days, investigators in Georgia have been calling National Movement members in for questioning without them appearing, including the Tbilisi mayor.
Mayor Gigi Ugulava’s answer has repeatedly been to call on the investigators to come to his office, unless a court forces him to appear at the Interior Ministry in person.
After the street scuffle on February 8 in front of the National Library, members of the National Movement Giorgi Kandelaki, Levan Bezhashvili and Koba Khabazi, as well as Gigi Ugulava, have been called in for interrogation.
February 10, Ugulava was first called to come to the police and explain himself as a witness. The mayor issued a statement saying that he is ready to answer any question, but without going to the police. Like before, he said investigators could come to his office.
Levan Kandelaki, Koba Khabazi and Levan Bezhashvili also refused to go for interrogation. Kandelaki said he and Bezhashvili would wait for investigators at the National Movement party office.
“If they want to stage a show, I won’t help them,” he told journalists.
“Me and a few beaten colleagues are called to the police. If they try to find the organizer, we cannot help, if they want to gather a few more hundred laris, as if trying to present an objective picture, we won’t participate,” they said.
Georgian legislation grants immunity to members of parliament and the mayor, which means they are not obliged to come for interrogation, but investigators can go to court and then the court can make them come for questioning.
Investigators have not taken up the offer from neither the parliamentarians nor the mayor.
“We do not plan go there, and we call on everyone to respect the law and follow the requirements of the law,” one of investigators said.
Two days ago, the Interior Ministry gave a first warning to Ugulava that if he doesn’t appear for questioning they will force him to come. Then he responded that he doesn’t plan to change his mind and is waiting for investigators at Tbilisi City Hall.
After the second warning from the ministry, Ugulava said he will only obey a court decision. He explained that he and the others who accompanied him at the library were affected that day.
“After all these, Irakli Gharibashvili, the head of the investigative body, comes out with ready claims, versions and accusations and calls us provocateurs, violating the presumption of innocence, while I’m called as a witness. All of this raises suspicion that his investigation cannot be objective,” he said Wednesday, when he was once again called for questioning at 12:00, and again answered that investigators can come to his office.