Irakli Khomasuridze, the defendant in the ongoing assault case on opposition Republican Party politicians MP Khatuna Samnidze and Davit Berdzenishvili, was released on July 13. Initially given pretrial detention, he was freed on GEL 1,000 (USD 340) bail yesterday, Tbilisi City Court confirmed to Civil.ge.
Netgazeti cited Khomasuridze’s lawyer, Aleksandre Kobaidze, as saying that more than 200 people had signed a petition calling for the defendant’s release. Still, ultimately it was the agreement of Samnidze and Berdzenishvili, that his freedom would not pose a problem, that led to the court’s decision.
MP Samnidze addressed the development in a Facebook post yesterday, “Our goal was not to impose the most severe preventive measures against the accused Irakli Khomasuridze. Accordingly, we expressed our consent to replace imprisonment with another preventive measure.” She emphasized, however, that they continue to pursue charges against Khomasuridze.
The Republican Party MP also highlighted a letter they sent to the Tbilisi Prosecutor’s Office, urging them to decide on pursuing charges against Vepkhvia Gvaladze, the other alleged participant in the assault so that they can seek the following legal measures.
The defendant is being prosecuted under Article 156 (2a) of the Criminal Code of Georgia which refers to the persecution of a person due to their political activities, among other characteristics, through violence or the threat of it.
MP Samnidze and Berdzenishvili were attacked on June 6 near the Georgian Parliament building on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare Rustaveli Avenue. The politicians say the two persons involved were angered at Davit’s brother, Levan Berdzenishvili — a former party member — over his highly controversial remarks about Erekle II, the 18th-century king of East Georgian Kartli-Kakheti Kingdom.