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Two Georgian MPs Briefly Held by Austrian Police

Two Georgian lawmakers from the opposition Industrialist Party were briefly detained by police in a hotel in Vienna, Austria, after local police took one of them for ex-Adjaran leader Aslan Abashidze.

MP Zurab Tkemaladze and MP Shota Kacheishvili were paying a private visit to Vienna on the invitation of Levan Pirveli, a controversial former lawmaker from the Industrialist Party who fled to Austria in 2003 after the Rose Revolution in Georgia.

Tkemaladze and Kacheishvili told reporters that overnight on May 7 at least a dozen Austrian law enforcers armed with handguns and automatic rifles burst into their hotel rooms and held them at gunpoint for about 40 minutes.

?They were trying to find out our identities? I told them who I am and showed my ID, but the law enforcers were saying that it was not my real name,? Kacheishvili told reporters upon his arrival in Tbilisi on May 8.
?After holding us at gunpoint for 40 minutes they apologized for the mistake and left? But a verbal apology is not enough. We want to clarify the situation: what happened, and why and who was behind it,? Tkemaladze said.

Speaking with Imedi TV late on May 7, Pirveli said that the Austrian law enforcement agencies had provided him with a written statement saying that they had acted on the request of the Georgian Interior Ministry, which had told them that ex-Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze was among his guests. Abashidze is on Interpol’s international wanted list.

However, officials in Tbilisi have denied any Georgian involvement.

?I talked to Nino Burjanadze [the Parliamentary Chairperson] and she assured me that the Georgian law enforcers had nothing to do with this incident and I want to believe this. I will only be happy if the Georgian law enforcers had nothing to do with this incident,? Tkemaladze said.

?I have talked with the interior minister [Vano Merabishvili] and the general prosecutor [Zurab Adeishvili]? Both of them told me that there was a misunderstanding? The Austrian side has already said that it was a mistake,? Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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