In a joint statement, the Georgian opposition parties said on February 18 that the ruling Georgian Dream party’s “decision” to detain United National Movement Chair Nika Melia “marks a dramatic escalation in political repression.” The statement came ahead of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s resignation.
The signatory parties said they “stand in peaceful solidarity” the UNM and its Chair “in resisting the Georgian Dream’s obvious push toward full-blown authoritarianism.”
Decrying the case against Melia as “absurd and fabricated,” the statement said it is “symbolic” that he is facing charges connected to the June 20-21 protests against the Russian delegation’s presence at the Georgian Parliament, given that the country “is still occupied by Russia.”
The signatories recalled that the GD party “violated” the March 8, 2020 deal by refusing to release Giorgi Rurua, the imprisoned shareholder of pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV.
The statement said the ruling party also launched “new politically motivated” investigations in the run-up to the October 31 parliamentary polls, alluding to the detention of two cartographers, charged with ceding lands to Azerbaijan. The opposition parties accused the GD of keeping “cases against other political, media and civic leaders in queue.”
Read more on this story:
- Opposition Calls for Snap Elections, Renewed Talks with GD
- Police Postpones Melia’s Detention After PM Resignation
- Georgian Dream Comments on Disagreement with Departing Prime Minister
- PM Giorgi Gakharia Resigns over Melia’s Detention
- Court Sends Largest Opposition Party Chair to Pretrial Detention