Tbilisi City Court rules imprisonment for UNM Chair
Tbilisi City Court rules imprisonment for UNM Chair

Nika Melia, Chairman of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) Party will be sent into custody. Tbilisi City Court Judge Nino Chakhnashvili ruled imprisonment to the indicted UNM leader. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will enforce the court judgement.

The UNM Chair Melia did not attend the court hearing. Representatives of opposition parties were waiting for the court ruling at the UNM central office.

Prosecutor Mikheil Sadradze filed a motion for Melia’s imprisonment as a substitutive measure for the unpaid bail. Nika Melia’s lawyers demanded recusal of Judge Nino Chakhnashvili. They claimed that units of Special Task Force were mobilized at the UNM central office that meant that the court decision about Melia’s imprisonment was made in advance.

Melia was charged with incitement to violence during the June protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi in 2019 and was released on GEL 30,000 bail. UNM Chairman defied the bail conditions by removing his monitoring bracelet. The court increased the bail amount to GEL 40,000 in November 2020 following the violation. Melia did not pay the added bail either.

The General Prosecutor’s Office (POG) warned Melia of a motion to substitute the bail with custody. POG appealed to the Georgian parliament to suspend his parliamentary immunity to request his arrest from the court.

The parliament greenlit measures against Melia with 88 votes pro on February 16.

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