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Zaza Saralidze Arrested After Confrontation with Police

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Zaza Saralidze, father of one of the teenagers murdered in the controversial Khorava Street stabbing last December 2017, was arrested today on charges of assaulting a police officer.

Saralidze, who has been rallying outside the Parliament building in Tbilisi for several weeks, was apprehended following his attempts to erect a tent in the area.

Video footage from the scene shows the police officers thwarting the tent assembly process, with Zaza Saralidze confronting them and hitting one of the officers with a tent pole. The incident ended with the arrest of Saralidze and two other protesters.

The Interior Ministry said Saralidze was charged under article 3531 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving “assault on police officers.” He might face imprisonment for a term of four to seven years. The two other detainees will face an administrative penalty.

The solidarity rallies were launched on May 31, following the court ruling over the teen murder, which acquitted both suspects on group murder charges of Davit Saralidze, effectively defying the prosecution’s version of the incident and bolstering the family’s doubts that the Prosecutor’s Office had concealed some elements of the crime.

Zaza Saralidze suspended the solidarity rallies on June 11, but resumed the protests three months later. His attempts to erect a tent in front of the Parliament building was thwarted by the police for several times before. Public Defender Nino Lomjaria has assessed the decision as “an illegal restriction on freedom of assembly.”

For the extended background, we recommend following our tag on the Khorava Street murder.

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

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