Mzia Gadelia, chairwoman of the Senaki office of the Conservative Party, accuses Guram Misabishvili, the municipality governor, and Besik Marmania, the Chairman of the Municipality Board, of persecuting and blackmailing her. Gadelia claimed that after the government failed to bribe her, initially her son and then she was detained. Akaki Gadelia serves his term at Zugdidi Prison # 4; Mzia Gadelia herself was released after having paid a 400 lari administrative charge. Despite the seventeen-year-long struggle as an oppositionist and undergone persecution, the leader of the party does not intend to resign in exchange for her son’s freedom.
Mzia Gadelia connects the detention of her only son with her political activities and claims that the authorities used her son as a weapon against her. Despite that, the leader of the opposition party does not intend to give in and she is convinced that governmental officials will not be able to persuade her.
Akaki (Khvicha) Gadelia was arrested on November 7 in his house and was placed in pre-trial detention setting for illegal use of the narcotic substance marihuana. The policemen discovered 0,06 grams of narcotics on him. Mzia Gadelia: “On November 7, thirty minutes after I made a speech at the opposition demonstration in Tbilisi, the police broke into my house and arrested my son. Although he was shouting “don’t plant drugs on me”, the law enforcement officials filled his pockets with marihuana. He does not use drugs, and could not be under narcotic influence, but in order to avoid being charged on drug-dealing my son admitted he was under the influence of marihuana. I learned about Akaki’s detention in Tbilisi when the riot police started to disperse the demonstration in Rike. I immediately rushed to Senaki…”
On November 8, having arrived at the pre-trial detention center, Mzia Gadelia was handed the clothes of her son which still had blood stains and foot prints on them. The mother put the clothes in the bag and sent them to Nino Burdjanadze, the Chairwoman of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi. Mzia Gadelia stated that Nino Burdjanadze should have at least shown some concern after seeing the clothes because she is mother; she should realize how our children are treated in Georgia and what can be the result of the violence in the country. However, Gadelia is not sure that the parcel reached the addressee.
On November 10, Mzia Gadelia was detained when she sent a parcel to her son. Mzia Gadelia: “I saw the look of my son in the cell and tried to encourage him. I asked him not to be afraid. I understood that he could not hear me; he could only guess what I was trying to tell him by reading my facial expressions. I realized that policemen had beaten him so severely that my son had his ear damaged. I got so nervous that I started to scream and when I looked around nearly 14 armed policemen were around me. They grabbed me, seized my jacket and bag. They were dragging me to a cell and I was telling them not to plant narcotics in my bag like they did to my son.”
After being detained for five hours in the pre-trial detention center in Senaki, the leader of the regional branch of the Conservative Party was taken to the district court. She was accused of resisting the police. The prosecutor demanded to charge Mzia Gadelia under article 173 of the Administrative Criminal Code and to sentence her to one month imprisonment. However, judge Merab Chanturia decided to fine the accused 400 lari and she was released. Mzia Gadelia did not plead herself guilty. “I did not insult the policemen at all; neither have I resisted them. Their claim that I tore the clothes of the policeman Besik Goroziani, is false. It was provoked and the plan of the one giving this order succeeded.”
Exactly one month has passed since Gadelia’s son was arrested, but she has not seen her son yet. On December 5, Mzia Gadelia accidentally learned her son’s trial date. After a lawyer got involved in the case the proceedings were postponed until December 12.
Mzia Gadelia actively took part in the National Movement since 1989. She was a participant of the April 9 events and was particularly active during the demonstrations supporting the late Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia. She was persecuted by the armed formation “Mkhedrioni”. During one of the upheavals in Senaki she was wounded and she is now permanently disabled on her right hand. During “Mkhedrioni’s” raiding in the Samegrelo Region, Gadelia was arrested or held hostage four times. Mzia Gadelia was also an active participant of the demonstrations organized by the opposition. On October 28, members of the National Movement threw an egg at her which injured her eye during the demonstration in Zugdidi.
“The authorities want to hush me during the election campaign, but it is not that easy to defeat me…Guram Misabishvili and Besik Narmania control everything in Senaki. They should be charged for everything,” said Mzia Gadelia.
Guram Misabishvili categorically denies any kind of oppression, blackmailing or persecution against the leader of Senaki’s Conservative Party.
“I have known her for a long time. I want to convince Mzia Gadelia that nobody intends to persecute her in Senaki and her doubts are baseless. As for her son, I cannot interfere in the activities of the police department and the prosecutor’s office. Law enforcement officials will find out themselves whether he is guilty or not.”
Besik Narmania also excludes the possibility of Mzia Gadelia’s persecution. “I have never opposed her. Mzia Gadelia cannot accuse me of me for anything. I have invited her to my son’s baptism. She should be ashamed of her accusations.”
Despite all this Mzia Gadelia is not giving in and intends to observe the legality of the upcoming presidential elections, in particular she wants to protect the right to vote for Levan Gachechiladze.
Nana Phazhava, Zugdidi