Police Shall Allow Melia to Exhaust Legal Remedies, CSOs Say

Seventeen Georgian civil society organizations on February 18 urged the Interior Ministry to refrain from detaining United National Movement Chair Nika Melia, until the defense has exhausted “all the remedies” to appeal the ruling.

According to the CSOs, existing legislation says yesterday’s verdict can only be re-examined in the second instance after the Tbilisi City Court delivers its final ruling on Melia’s case. The third sector said this bars the defense from appealing the pretrial detention within 48 hours, contradicting the right to liberty and fair trial guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution.

Provided Melia’s defense appeals the detention, the Court of Appeals could then address the Constitutional Court regarding the said legal provision. This would mean any enforcement of yesterday’s verdict would be postponed until the Constitutional Court delivers its ruling, the third sector said.

“This will be an institutional and legitimate way to defuse the current serious crisis,” the CSOs stressed.

Highlighting that Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s resignation indicates the severity of the political crisis, the CSOs asserted the ruling Georgian Dream party and involved state bodies must assume responsibility for “defusing the situation.”

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