United National Movement Chairperson Nika Melia left prison premises today, following the decision by Tbilisi City Court to replace his pretrial detention with a release on bail, posted by the EU earlier on May 8.
Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and the opposition regarding Melia’s release from pre-trial detention:
Ruling party remarks:
Anri Okhanashvili, MP: “By paying the bail, the European Union did not allow Saakashvili (ex-President, UNM leader-in-exile) to use Melia as an instrument for the implementation of the Russian destabilization scenario. Neither the UNM nor Nikanor Melia is of any value to the EU. This is about the rule of law principle, as the EU supports Georgia’s democratic development as a strategic partner.”
Giorgi Amilakhvari, MP: “The EU does not post bail for so-called political prisoners. On the contrary, this action once again confirms that the EU respects the Georgian judiciary. The bail payment fully corresponds to the action of the Prosecutor’s Office. Nika Melia said throughout this process that he would not pay bail and could not be arrested, though he was arrested. He then stated that he would not accept bail but had to agree to it. And we assume that he will also agree to the amnesty law.”
Giorgi Baramidze, United National Movement: “Certainly, Melia’s release has changed the situation in the opposition. As you know, there are two different opinions in the UNM about entering such a Parliament. My position, naturally, is that if the parliament is illegitimate, we should not enter; the same way it was illegitimate before, it will be illegitimate after that. Did this parliament gain legitimacy just for the release of Giorgi Rurua and Nika Melia by the Georgian Dream? […] Like all serious decisions, this similarly will not be a backstage decision. At least the decision will be made by the [UNM] political council, and I think in an expanded format.”
Mamuka Khazaradze, Lelo for Georgia MP: “Another step towards stabilization was taken, and this was accomplished by signing Charles Michel’s Document. This is a result when two political prisoners are already out of prison. As for the UNM entering Parliament, naturally, this is for them to decide. However, it would be logical for the whole political battle to be moved into Parliament. […] Us pro-western parties must now do everything so that the other points of Charles Michel’s document are implemented – election legislation, judicial reform, and so on – so that the country starts resetting and the political process is transferred to the Parliament building.”
Giorgi Vashadze, Strategy Agmashenebeli MP: “In Charles Michel’s document – which we all have signed, and I hope will be signed by the UNM likewise – it is written distinctively that both Giorgi Rurua and Nika Melia were political prisoners. It is a great victory that Giorgi Rurua has been released, now Nika Melia has been released, and so we will go step by step towards the implementation of the document. We have to get used to the fact that we are not one party. Those who refuse to cooperate will have problems accordingly.”