A group of opposition and civic activists held a rally outside the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) on October 7, protesting the detention of two Border Demarcation Commission members, Iveri Melashvili of the Foreign Ministry and Natalia Ilychova of the Interior Ministry, regarding the recently initiated criminal investigation into the alleged ceding of lands to Azerbaijan.
MP Elene Khoshtaria of the opposition European Georgia party, who announced about the planned rally through her Facebook post, said that the rally was aimed at “expressing solidarity with the people who are victims of injustice.”
“I want the public to know that there had been no agreement, no treaty, no cession of the lands; it is Russian propaganda that was followed by Georgian Dream’s actions,” she stated.
MP Salome Samadashvili of the United National Movement, former ruling party slammed the criminal accusations as “absurd,” noting that “today, they [GD government] are destroying the lives of two persons because Bidzina Ivanishvili [chairman of the ruling party] decided to fabricate another absurd, political accusation against the representatives of the previous government.”
The POG detained Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilychova on October 7. According to the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, Melashvili and Ilychova hid the 1938 map, which was supposed to be used in the delimitation talks, instead of deliberately used maps from the 1970-80s when agreeing on the state border Azerbaijan. The POG argued that by using the 1970-80s maps the officials compromised the lands with the neighboring country.
On October 8, Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilychova were charged with Article 308 (1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving a violation of the territorial integrity of the country, which foresees imprisonment for a term of ten to fifteen years. The Tbilisi City Court will hold a hearing into the case later today.
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