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Special Operation Group Evicts IDPs from Hotel “Meskheti”

June 30, 2006

Special Operation Group Evicts IDPs from Hotel “Meskheti”

On June 28 the eviction of IDPs from the hotel took start. Well-organized Special Operation Group and Criminal Police compelled the population to abandon the hotel building and did not allow them go upstairs. On June 28, one of the refugees attempted to commit suicide by pouring oil on herself and her grandchild in front of the Building of Ministerial Council.

The deadline of ultimatum delivered by the government to the IDPs expired on June 28. Criminal Police started to increase their raids in front of the hotel building three days ago. They were registering each family on every floor. Later, Mamuka Nakashidze, the Ministry of Healthcare in Achara prolonged the deadline and offered the IDPs an alternative shelter in Makhinjauri.

The disruption of the hotel building “Mziuri”, being suggested by the government, (which was occupied and afterwards deserted by the refugees) was permanently stopped. The building is being left without windows or doors. However, there were still 100 families left in the hotels “Medea” and “Meskheti”. Mainly they were the families who were demanding the increase of amount for the compensation. The civilians believed that the investors would keep their promise. “We think that they had to warn us beforehand if we were helpless and unprotected. They were alleging that everything would be fine and that we had nothing to worry about. However, at the moment we have no mercy from them”, - says the refugee Lamara Lipartia.

IDPs were disappointed by the president as well. “We were optimistic about the President’s support but he did not pay attention to us… No German fascists would do such kind of deed. I should have stayed in Abkhazia!” - announces Shorena Malania. 

“We did not devote ourselves to Abkhazia that time but now we are going to breathe our last breath here. We will not comply with demand of police and we are ready for the bloodshed”, - said one of the IDPs. 

Ada Marshania – the deputy of Akhazia Supreme Council announces: “It is absolutely unacceptable for us to be presented ultimatum in your own country. It is intolerable and painful to hear such statements. These civilians are challenging for fairness and justice. The people are treated viciously, especially IDPs.

The IDPs are protesting the wrong allotment of reimbursement money and a silence from government’s side. “We applied to 21 governmental spokesmen. We tend to go the Enguri Bridge under the status of political refugees. Still we are left without a piece of bread with that money” - said IDP Nani Arakhamia. In her words: “The head of “Achara Resorts” Nodar Ghuladze, allots the money according to his will: “He granted 700 US dollars to Rusiko Shvelia’s family and I was told to be given no extra money”.

Levan Varshalomidze did not meet the IDPs and Ada Marshania despite their insisted demand during 4 days. Marshania personally asked the criminal police not to raid the civilians. People were waiting for the Public Defender - Sozar Subar as well but in vain. However the representative of the public defender, Sopo Khorguani arrived in Batumi. She stated: “I met Mamuka Nakashidze, the Minister of Healthcare in Adjara region. I was told that the investors are ready to increase your amount but here I want to mention that human rights are really violated. It must be noted that there is the case of violation of the law implying the eviction of people within the competences of the Ministry of Refugee and Placement”.

The IDPs plan to go to the Enguri Bridge and approximately 50 IDPs marched to reach the destination on June 28. In the evening they stayed at the hotel “Aisi” and in the morning continued to go.

Yesterday, at about 18 o’clock, one of the IDPs, Guli Danelia attempted to commit suicide by using oil that she poured on herself and on her granddaughter Shorena Sharbava in front of the building of the Ministerial Council. Shorena is a disabled person of the first group; she had been release from the status of IDP. But the criminal police intruded and the clash ended with the arrest of Nino Kiria, an IDP. She was transferred to the Batumi jail N3, though her fate is still under question. Some of the IDPs have been detained and taken to the police. The police do not make any comments relating the case.

There were several ambulances nearby and some of the victims were rushed to hospital. The journalists were forbidden to enter the hotel. However, the HRIDC journalist managed to get on 13 floor. Each floor was full of the Special Operation Group members and policemen. Criminal Police were giving hand to the inhabitants in getting rid of the domestic appliances by throwing them out from the windows. In conversation with one of the members of Special Operation Group we were told that the most of Special Operation Group members are from Tbilisi, though some are from Batumi too. The journalists are not yet permitted to enter the hotel “Meskheti”. Gela Siradze the lawyer of IDPs is going to sue in the General Prosecutor’s Office. Special Operation service and Criminal Police are violating the law, they did not have right to enter”.

Up to this time the inhabitants of the hotel have been evicted from “Meskheti”. They are provided with suitable accommodation – with houses, however many of them still stay without shelter. You can notice a lot of IDPs in front of the hotel Medea”. About 50 IDP families live in the hotel “Aisi”, in the village of Kobuleti - Tsikhisdziri. These families have already been cut off from the supplies of electricity and water.

Maka Malakmadze from Batumi