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Former Gakharia Administration Head Says Melia Detention Backslide

Former Government Administration Head Natia Mezvrishvili, who resigned November last year, said on February 23 that Melia’s detention “provoked the backsliding” of Georgia.

“No one says we should not follow the law, however, it shouldn’t be done in return to damaging country’s image and Western aspirations,” she said, referring to international backlash following the police storm on the United National Movement headquarters.

Instead, Mezvrishvili said, Melia’s arrest “could have been avoided,” had the prosecution considered if there was a risk of the UNM leader hiding, destroying evidence, or coercing witnesses, before demanding pretrial detention.

The opposition leader “could easily have been left” without a restraining measure before the final ruling in the case, she asserted.

Mezvrishvili unexpectedly resigned in November 2020, for unknown reasons. She served as the Government chief of staff from October 2019, after Gakharia assumed the office in September that year.

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