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Opposition Politician Assailant Given Pretrial Detention

The Tbilisi City Court confirmed to Civil.ge that it ruled pre-trial detention for defendant Irakli Khomasuridze over the assault case on opposition MP Khatuna Samnidze and politician Davit Berdzenishvili.

While the defendant was initially facing prosecution under Article 126 of the Criminal Code, the Prosecutor’s Office ultimately charged him with Article 156 (2a) which refers to the persecution of a person due to their political activities, among other characteristics, through violence or the threat of it.

The charge came after the Ministry of Internal Affairs established during their investigation that the defendant attacked Berdzenishvili on June 6 for his political activities. It carries possible imprisonment for up to three years with the deprivation of the right to hold office or carry out similar activities for up to three years.

The defendant himself admitted during today’s session that he approached Berdzenishvili and MP Khatuna Samnidze, also present with Berdzenishvili during the incident, to tell them they were “wrong people” because they are “biased.” Khomasuridze alleged it was Berdzenishvili who threatened and reached for him first, after which he responded in-kind.

The defendant also addressed journalists during the session, saying “when journalists came I swore at them too, and I would repeat it to them now.”

Following the remarks, the justice ordered Khomasuridze to be removed from the courtroom before making his decision.

The incident in question took place on June 6 when MP Khatuna Samnidze and Berdzenishvili were approached by two persons who allegedly proceeded to assault and verbally abuse them near the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare.

Police arrested two people during the incident, according to MP Samnidze, although Khomasuridze is the only one who was charged.

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