Mikheil Saakashvili’s Supporters Arrested in 2021 Released

The Tbilisi City Court confirmed to Civil.ge that Besik Tamliani and two other people arrested in front of the same court in November last year during a rally supporting ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, were released today after their pre-trial detention was replaced with GEL 5,000 (USD 1,757) bail each.

According to media reports, their 9-month term of pre-trail detention was slated to end on 29 August, hence the judge discussed changing the preventive measure against the defendants. While two of them were released from the courtroom, Tamliani did not attend the session in a sign of protest, and he will be released from the temporary isolation cell.

Upon being released from the pre-trial detention center, Tamliani told media representatives that he does not plan to pay the bail amount. Per Tamliani, “There were already 2 days left [before the expiration of the pre-trial detention] and I would have been released without bail, when people are given bail when they have 2 days left, this is inhumane.”

“This is the second time I have been released from prison on bail, but I am not happy or satisfied. This is a clear example of how the government records positive statistics that people are being granted bail,” he said.

Tamliani added that they ‘tussled’ with him while in isolation and he followed their will only “after a lot of begging.” “Whether I pay the bail or not, I intend to attend the trial. My principle goal is to expose the policemen and the system that does not know the law,” he stated.

The next hearing for the case will be on 15 September.

Tamliani was arrested on 29 November alongside three other persons. At the time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said that those arrested during the rally did not obey law enforcement commands and confronted them physically. The Court sentenced Tamliani to pre-trial detention on 1 December, 2021.

Tamliani has refused to admit guilt and even announced a hungerstrike as a sign of protest.

The case is being investigated under Articles 353(1) and 3531 (1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which refers to resisting law enforcement orders and attacking an officer. If found guilty, they could face 2-5 years in prison.

Note: The article was updated on 26 August at 18:26 to reflect Tamliani’s comments.

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