When will Melia be released from prison?


As RFE / RL was told in the UN, they have not heard any new information about Nika Melia’s changed position on “EU bail”. Expectations of a possible release of the leader of the largest opposition party arose after he was visited in Rustavi prison on May 1 by Lelo leader, MP Mamuka Khazaradze.

  • What are the ways to release Nika Melia and how long can his detention be extended?
  • Is Nika Melia’s written consent required to use the “EU Bail” mechanism?
  • Does it make sense to set up a commission of inquiry into the events of June 20 in the parliament in parallel with the broad amnesty of the “Dream”?

After the meeting with the leader of “Lelo”, Mamuka Khazaradze, the chairman of the UNM has not made a new statement from prison and, consequently, his teammates are leading in his last position. As one of the leaders of the United National Movement, Levan Khabeishvili, told RFE / RL, at this stage he sees no reason to expect Melia to leave the prison on “EU bail” in the coming days.

“Nika Melia stated that he would agree to the EU bail only in case of withdrawal of the amnesty project. So far no one was able to send in the perfect solution, which is not strange. I do not know what to expect from this (it will soon be released on EU bail). ..

The government now has the key to release him, and in theory, if he wants, he can release him on Wednesday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – who knows … I know for a fact that Nika Melia does not change his principled decisions so quickly. “ – Levan Khabeishvili told Radio Liberty.

On May 4, Nika Melia’s lawyers will visit Rustavi Prison and they will inform the UNM representatives about the new information. However, lawyers have previously denied reports that the UN chairman’s chairman should sign any document to agree to a bail offer offered by the European Union.

The expectation that Melia will leave the prison in the coming days on the basis of “EU bail” arose in Rustavi prison after the entry of “Lelo” leader, MP Mamuka Khazaradze. On May 1, Khazaradze was released from Melia cell He told herThat the chairperson of the UNM agrees in principle with the essence of the “EU” bail, as well as the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the events of June 20 in the parliament.

Khazaradze also said that he expects an approach from the EU in the bail payment process that does not overshadow Nika Melia’s self-esteem:

  • “In principle, he shares the view that the EU bail is a truly unprecedented thing, which proves that the EU does not pay bail for criminals”;
  • “Unfortunately, it is perceived here that Nika must agree, and then” Otsneba “will thank you for agreeing to the bail … This will not happen. I think the EU will make a decision so that it does not affect Nika’s self-esteem and the principle for which he is in prison for so long … The EU will pay and that is the end of it. “

The details of the conversation that took place in Rustavi prison on May 1 are not talked about in “Lelo”. However, the party’s representative, lawyer Kakha Kozhoridze, tells us that the “EU bail” is an agreed mechanism that is still in force.

Does this mechanism require the consent of Nika Melia? In response to this question, Kozhoridze recalls that the consent of Nika Melia has always been important for the EU to pay bail and that is why the bail has not been paid so far:

“Both during the negotiations and in the internal talks, the Europeans kept saying that the bail would be paid through the European Union if Nika Melia agreed. Otherwise they would not have paid because they respected the will of this man. ” Kakha Kozhoridze tells us.

Nika Melia refused to “bail out the EU” on the grounds that it was unacceptable for him to comment on the events of June 20 Amnesty, Which is envisaged by the draft law of the Georgian Dream.

Is written consent required?

According to the prosecutor’s office and the Georgian Dream, Nika Melia can leave prison at any time on bail. However, at this stage, the chairman of the UNM has been sentenced to imprisonment as a measure of restraint and, according to the lawyers, the issue of bail has been removed from the agenda.

GYLA representative Merab Kartvelishvili tells us that in order to release a detainee on bail, it is necessary to replace the detention measure with bail and this must be done at the court hearing.

“We do not remember any other precedent when the prosecutor’s office says about the accused accused of imprisonment – to pay bail and come out. If he has been sentenced to imprisonment, then the issue of bail has been abolished altogether and bail must be imposed at the court session …

Theoretically, every case has a unique code that is used to pay bail. As a rule, in our cases we find out the issue of this code with the prosecutor, when it is decided to pay the bail …

If the accused says – I will not pay the bail, the defense will not give this code to anyone, but there is no record in the law – that the transfer of this code to another party is prohibited by the prosecutor’s office. ” Kartvelishvili tells us and does not rule out the development of events in the “unprecedented situation” under any scenario, because, according to him – in the case of Melia “Politics is very deeply ingrained.”

According to Kartvelishvili, the law does not require the prior written consent of the accused to pay the bail and the protocol will be signed later, after the court decision.

According to the GYLA representative, if Melia does not object to the payment of the bail through the mediation of the European Union, with his verbal consent, the events may develop in two scenarios:

  • To deposit the bail in advance and then apply to the court prosecutor’s office with a relevant motion to change the measure of detention;
  • The prosecutor’s office must first petition the court to change the measure of detention and then pay the bail.

Nika Melia’s April 29 trial has been postponed to May 13. The lawyers demanded the postponement of the trial on the grounds that, due to the political situation, they consider the participation in the hearings as an “imitation of justice”.

Amnesty and Commission of Inquiry

In the ongoing mediation process of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, two possibilities for the release of Nika Melia were identified:

  • Oral Agreement According to – the EU would pay bail on bail European Democratic Foundation, After which the prisoner would leave the cell as soon as possible;
  • Written Agreement According to the first paragraph – Melia can be released under the amnesty law that applies „2019 year 19 – 21 June With protests Related All Violation And Arrest“.

In parallel with the “EU bail”, the amnesty agreement still remains in force and the parliament will rule out the withdrawal of bills initiated by the government and the opposition.

If the amnesty law is approved, Nika Melia will have to leave the prison.

According to the initial information of the “Dream”, the procedures for the consideration of the amnesty bills were to start at the Bureau meeting on May 4, but on May 3 it was revealed that the process was due to the vacations announced before May 11 due to covid-19. Delayed.

Guram Macharashvili, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Procedural Issues and Rules, told reporters on May 3 that the projects would be presented at the Bureau meeting. “After the holidays” Will be registered. The following procedure requires committee hearings and three-reading approval in plenary.

  • If we add the originally named 25-day deadline to the remaining time until May 11, there is more than a month left before the amnesty law is passed.
  • If Melia does not agree to the “EU bail”, it turns out that he will remain in prison for more than a month.
  • Accordingly, during the same period, the issue of entering the parliament of more than 30 deputies of the UNM bloc will be postponed and resolved, on which the party declared a moratorium before Melia’s speech.

Kakha Kozhoridze tells us that “Lelo” will not support the amnesty project initiated by “Dream” and will definitely consider the establishment of an investigation commission in the Parliament in connection with the June 20 events.

According to parliamentary regulations, the establishment of a commission of inquiry requires the support of at least 50 deputies, which means that the current opposition in parliament will not be able to achieve this goal if it does not join the National Movement.

As Mamuka Khazaradze stated on May 1, Nika Melia will soon make a statement regarding the establishment of a commission of inquiry. However, as UNM representative Levan Khabeishvili told us, the commission of inquiry is losing its meaning under the amnesty planned by the Georgian Dream.

“If the issue of amnesty is not stopped, whose crime should we investigate ?! And if we identify the culprits, then we should address them by name – are you free ?!

What is the point of an investigation commission if there is a mass pardon of the perpetrators ?! “I did not include the articles of the (European) Convention, which say that these articles could not be touched upon, and after this amnesty, no one can be charged with abuse of office (Article 333 of the Criminal Code).” – Khabeishvili tells us.

There is no mechanism in the law to stop the investigation commission from reviewing and approving the amnesty issue or to hold the amnestied persons liable in accordance with the facts established by the commission of inquiry.

Nevertheless, Kakha Kozhoridze, a representative of Lelo, still thinks that even if the Georgian Dream amnesty is approved, the findings of the commission of inquiry will be “valuable” because this process “Will bring the truth to the public court” And the information collected by the Commission may be relevant to articles of the Code to which amnesty does not apply.