MP Melia acquited, Vashadze fined in Inauguration Day Skirmish Case

The local court in Gurjaani acquitted on Friday opposition MP Nika Melia of UNM, in the case of a skirmish of an opposition convoy with the police cordon rally near the village of Velistsikhe on December 16. In the same case, another opposition leader, founder of New Georgia civil platform, Giorgi Vashadze was fined GEL 3,000.

The two political leaders were charged under article 173 of the Administrative Code, implying disobedience to the police orders and envisaging GEL 1,000 – 4,000 fine or a 15-day imprisonment.

Giorgi Vashadze’s defense lawyer said that he would appeal. The prosecution also plans to challenge the court ruling delivered in respect of Nika Melia.

On December 16, the opposition was planning a demonstration to coincide with President Salome Zurabishvili’s inauguration ceremony in a town of Telavi. However, their convoy of cars heading from Tbilisi was stopped by the police cordon in a village of Velistsikhe, of Gurjaani Municipality.

Police offered an alternative route to the protesters, but the opposition leaders rejected the proposal saying that other road was blocked too. A tense standoff ensued, and continued until the end of the inauguration ceremony. Police said more than 10 officers were injured, opposition said several of its activists were injured as well, and two who had to be hospitalized.

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