On October 8, the Tbilisi City Court released Levan Jikuri, one of the activists arrested on charges of group violence during the June 20-21 protests, on GEL 2,000 bail, citing his health condition.
After leaving the courtroom, Jikuri told reporters that he does not plead guilty of group violence, because he did not know other protesters implicated in his charges and met them only during the court hearings.
“I went to the rally together with my wife to help other people and when riot police started to fire the rubber bullets, I used a [police] shield to protect people,” he told journalists.
His defense lawyer, Aleksandre Zubiashvili also told reporters that Jikuri admits that he resisted police officer, adding that his case must be reviewed separately during the trial, because it did not meet the criteria for an offense committed by the group of people. “We are also negotiating plea bargaining,” he added.
As the hearing was ongoing, a protest rally was held outside the Tbilisi City Court, where relatives and civil rights activists gathered to express solidarity with the detained protesters.
Earlier on September 27, Tbilisi City Court released Levan Imerlishvili, police officer who was arrested on charges of excessive use of force during dispersal of the June 20 protests, on bail. The controversial decision triggered strong criticism.
19 people have been charged with violence committed as a group, including Irakli Okruashvili, Georgia’s former defense minister and now leader of opposition movement, and Nika Melia, lawmaker of the United National Movement.
Melia and two more protesters were released on bail. However, 16 other people, including Okruashvili, remain in custody.