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Prosecutors Launch Criminal Proceedings Against UNM MP, Others over October 24 Brawl

The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia announced today that prosecutors in the Rustavi have launched criminal proceedings against United National Movement MP Davit Kirtkitadze and three other persons over an October 24 brawl outside the opposition party’s office in the southern city.

The Rustavi City Court has already imposed bail for the three suspects while the prosecutors will motion for the same measure in case of the lawmaker “in due time,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

According to the prosecution’s account, the three suspects, including Vasil Balakhadze, were protesting outside the UNM office on October 24, when MP Kirkitadze, other party members and supporters confronted them.

The prosecution said that lawmaker Kirkitadze attacked Balakhadze and another suspect in the case, and the three persons, in turn, assaulted two UNM supporters.

It noted that MP Kirtkitadze faces charges under Article 126 (1.1c), involving violence committed against two or more persons, while Balakhadze stands accused of charges under Article 126 (1.1b, 1.1c), involving violence committed by a group of persons against two or more persons. The two other suspects are charged with Article 126 (1.1b) – violence committed by a group.

The crimes are punishable by a fine or community service from 180 240 hours or imprisonment for up to two years.

Court sets bail for MP Kirkitadze

The Rustavi City Court set the bail for MP Davit Kirkitadze at GEL 5,000 (USD 1,680) on February 5.

The United National Movement lawmaker left the hearing in protest before the pretrial detention measure was announced. MP Kirkitadze told reporters he had no confidence in the Prosecutor’s Office, and “did not care” what the Court would decide either.

The MP claimed that the Georgian law enforcers serve the Georgian Dream founder, “oligarch” Bidzina Ivanishvili instead of the people.

The lawmaker’s lawyer, Aleksandre Mgeladze said the defense has 20 days to post the bail but plan to appeal the decision in the second instance court.

Background

The brawl on October 24 came six days ahead of the bitterly contested runoffs in the 2021 local elections. MP Kirkitadze was then contesting the Rustavi mayoral seat against Georgian Dream’s Nino Latsabidze.

Commenting with the media about the incident on the same day, Kirkitadze accused the GD of organizing a “provocation” and argued Balakhadze was an operative of the State Security Service of Georgia.

Balakahdze had meanwhile denied any affiliations with the ruling GD party and argued the activists had rallied to remind “the Georgian population, the people of Rustavi what [UNM administration] regime was doing.”

In the 2021 runoffs, Kirkitadze subsequently lost to Latsabidze with 46.29% of votes to 53.71%, a result contested by the opposition as “rigged.”

NB: This article was updated at 12:18, on February 7 with the Rustavi City Court’s decision to impose bail of GEL 5,000 on MP Davit Kirkitadze.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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