The European Union has posted today a bail worth GEL 40,000 (USD 11,680) for the release of the United National Movement (UNM) Chairman Nika Melia from pre-trial detention. The move follows the EU-proposed April 19 Agreement between Georgian parties.
“We would like to warmly thank two independent organisations who agreed to lend their valuable support in this process: the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) who made the funds available and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) who transferred these funds to the authorities,” the statement said.
The EU Delegation to Georgia also underlined that posting the bail is “another important step” to end the post-election political crisis in Georgia. “We expect this step to further facilitate all elected Members of Parliament to join the agreement and contribute to its implementation, in the interest of Georgia, its citizens, EU-Georgia relations and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic future,” the statement concluded.
As part of the EU-brokered April 19 agreement to end Georgia’s political crisis, the signatory parties had agreed to address the “two cases of perceived politicized justice [Melia and Rurua cases] either by an amnesty and/or by taking such steps as to produce an equivalent outcome.”
Decrying the amnesty law, Nika Melia said on April 26 that he would accept the EU-proposed bail solution for his release. Noting that the Georgian Dream party intends to give pardon to all persons facing charges from June 20-21 events, Melia dubbed the amnesty bill “a shameful attempt to rewrite history.”
Police detained Melia in the controversial raid on UNM headquarters on February 23, only a few hours into Irakli Garibashvili’s election as Prime Minister. The arrest came after Melia, facing charges for heading mass violence during the protest on the night of June 20-21, 2019, refused to post an increased bail of GEL 40,000 (USD 11,680).
The bail for Melia was increased after he publicly removed an electronic monitoring bracelet during a rally on November 1 while protesting “fraudulent” parliamentary elections outside the Parliament building. The UNM leader had already posted the initial amount of GEL 30,000 (USD 8,760) imposed by the Court for the June 20-21 unrest case.
Melia’s arrest was also preceded by the February 18 resignation of previous Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who cited disagreements with his party colleagues on the matter and refused to greenlight the detention.