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Sighnagi Police Prosecutes Supporters of Opposition Parties

27.05.2009
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

Sighnaghi district police persecutes representatives of the district office of the Alliance for Georgia and supporters of the opposition parties. Law enforcers detained Ilia Khutsishvili, Zaza Pkhovelishvili, Omar and Temur Taliashvili in the evening of Friday, May 22. These people were detained without having been explained the reason of detention; they were kept in the Tsnori police station for five hours. During the detention the law enforcers did not allow the detainees to inform the family members about the location of Khutsishvioli, Pkhovelishvili and Taliashvili. The policemen threatened the detainees with planting drugs in their cars unless they stop supporting the opposition parties.

“We were on our way home when policemen blocked our way. They searched our cars without any explanations and took us to the Tsnori Police Station. We were there from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. When we inquired about the reasons of our detention and one of the policemen replied they had arrested us based on operative information. However, they did not tell us what the information was about. After 11:00 pm we were taken for drug-tests. None of us are drug-addicts and the tests showed we were not under influence. The doctor said that only one of our acquaintances was under influence of drugs who is not member of the Alliance for Georgia; though he was in our car. Then, they took us back to the police station in a police car and late at night we were released,” said Ilia Khutsishvili in his interview with the Human Rights Center.

According to Khutsishvili on May 23, Saturday, policemen visited him and his friends at home.

“They demanded to take photos of ours that was necessary to close the criminal investigation. We refused and then under threat and force they took us to take photos,” said Ilia Khutsishvili and added that police persecutes them for their political opinion. “When we were detained in Tsnori Police Station the policemen warned we would face more problems if we do not stop supporting the opposition parties. They said this time they could not find drugs in our car but unless we envisage their warnings they could detect drugs in our cars.”

Aleksandre Onanashvili, head of Sighnaghi Police Department does not comment why the supporters of the opposition parties were arrested. “Call the press-service center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,” said Onananshvili.

Zurab Gvenetadze, head of press-center of the MIA: “I have heard about the detention for the first time from you. I will call and let you know about it later.” Gventadze did not call later and he did not answer our phone calls either.

Davit Kochlamazashvili, prosecutor of Sighnaghi district: “Law enforcers detained these people in the evening of May 22, 2009 in Tsnori. Police had information that people driving by BMW had drugs in the car. As a result of the search there were no drugs in the car. The people sitting in the car were tested on drug addiction and only one of them was under influence. Consequently, this person will be charged under Administrative Law. Criminal case was not launched on the fact and they were not officially detained in fact.”

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