The civil movement Georgian March visited the Davit Gareji monastery complex in eastern Georgia on Wednesday.
Georgian March member, Irakli Shikhiashvili, said they plan to do drone filming of the current situation in the monastery complex and demonstrate it to the Georgian citizens.
March members and Border Patrol officers verbally clashed before drone flying. The officers explained to the March members that the drone should fly 500 meters from the border. Georgian March obeyed the rule.
“The Georgian government is not interested in the Davit Gareji issue. The government statements about it were a part of the pre-election campaign. The border has been moved into the Georgian territory. As we know, Azerbaijani border guards have entered the cells and use them as barracks. Melashvili‘s statement was treason when he said Davit Gareji is not Georgia. We start a protest in Tbilisi and Davit Gareji to return the monastery complex,” March member Sandro Bregadze stressed.
Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilychova, indictees in the Davit Gareji Monastery Complex case, were released on 20,000 GEL bail on January 28.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia launched a probe against Iveri Melashvili, Head of the Service of Georgian State Border Delimitation, Demarcation and Border Relations of the Department of Neighboring Countries at the Foreign Ministry, and Natalia Ilychova, Chief Inspector of the Land Border Defense Department of the Border Police last year. POG accused them of conspiring to cede lands to Azerbaijan.
POG Investigation found that Melashvili and Ilychova hid the 1938 map and used the 1970-80s maps instead. As a result, Georgia lost 3,500 hectares of land. The hidden 1937-1938 original map was found in Natalia Ilichova’s office, POG noted. Both defendants face imprisonment from ten to fifteen years.