The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia said today it is ready to appeal to the court to replace the pre-trial detention of Nika Melia, top opposition leader, if the latter agrees to post bail.
Detaining the United National Movement leader was never the aim, the prosecutor said, adding however that there were no other legal options left, as Melia refused to post the increased bail of GEL 40,000 (USD 12,140), imposed on him after he publicly removed a monitoring bracelet during an opposition rally in November.
Meanwhile, the Tbilisi Court of Appeals turned down today the defense’s appeal against the Tbilisi City Court’s ruling for pretrial detention. Pointing out that the detention can only be appealed after the final verdict in the case, the second instance court refrained as well from challenging the said provision in the Constitutional Court, despite the third sector’s suggestions.
Had the appellate court decided otherwise, 17 Georgian civil society groups argued it could have paved the way for “an institutional and legitimate way to defuse the current serious [political] crisis,” as the opposition leader’s detention would be postponed until the Constitutional Court decided on the matter.
Police detained UNM Chair Nika Melia, facing charges for the June 20-21, 2019, anti-occupation unrest case, in the controversial raid on the party headquarters on February 23, only a few hours after Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s election.