The opposition in white: an attack or capitulation?16.07.2009 | 15:05
The Georgian authorities have released the young oppositionists arrested a month ago during the meeting near the police headquarters building. The oppositionists are determined to continue their fight. The question is how the situation will work out.
The release of the opposition's young wing representatives, Dacha Tsaguria, Misha Meskhi, Georgi Sabanadze and Merab Chikashvili can hardly be called a concession. They got an administrative sentence of 30 days of imprisonment which they had been serving in preliminary confinement isolation ward. Despite numerous demands, the prisoners were released precisely on due date. The oppositionists had been trying to arrange a pompous meeting of the young people; however, the released prisoners were met rather moderately.
According to GHN, in the course of another meeting in front of the parliament, the oppositional activist, former minister of Georgia on conflict settlement Goga Khaindrava called upon the people to gather near the Police Headquarters building (GUVD). According to Khaindrava, the public should meet the young activists, who have been serving an administrative sentence, at the doors of the building.
However, today, it is not meeting the released prisoners that the oppositionists' forces are aimed at; it is trying to avoid getting behind bars. According to the amendments recently adopted in respect of the law about meetings, police and the Administrative Code, at the nearest meeting the oppositionists may all together get behind bars for a much longer period than a month.
On the day the young oppositionists were released, the Christian Democrats demanded to withdraw the package of amendments made to the abovementioned laws from parliament. No changes should be adopted in a hasty manner, the more so as these changes are made on political grounds. Besides, the representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia also recommended waiting for the conclusions drawn by Venice Commission in respect of the amendments made, as Akhvlediani, a Christian Democrat, underlined.
According to one of the authors of the draft law Pavle Kublashvili, the authorities' opponents have got an inadequate idea of the amendments package, for this draft law is only supposed to specify some of the existing legislative standards. Let us remind you that the package of amendments implies the extension of administrative detention term from 30 to 90 days and the use of non-lethal weapons by police.
On the same day, fifteen representatives of public organizations and civil activists called upon the country's government to cancel the adoption of the represented amendments "in the current form". "The adoption of these amendments and changes in the context of today's political reality speaks of the fact that the authorities not only keep from trying to settle the current situation by way of a dialogue, cooperation and compromise but are aggravating the existing confrontation, creating a threat of escalation", - the statement says, according to Civil.ge.
According to leader of the Young Lawyers Association Tamara Khidasheli, much concern is caused by the provision about the administrative detention term extended up to 90 days, considering the fact that, unlike the European legislation, the Georgian law does not imply the right to appeal against administrative punishment; neither is there an opportunity to duly prepare any defense; the conditions in preliminary confinement isolation wards are more "unbearable" and "equal to torture" than in ordinary prisons; besides, the law does not regulate the right for medical care, walks and appointments. "These conditions not being in place, we believe that extending the term up to 90 days goes directly against the European standards", - Khidasheli stated to Civi.ge.
In the meantime, the authorities are not even trying to listen to the opponents, the latter being afraid that things will be settled at the legislative level. For example, according to the Conservative party representatives, the authorities are currently preparing "a drug scandal", as GHN reports. As the Conservatives say, "We have learnt from reliable sources that it is planned to search the offices of the Conservative and other parties in order to "find" narcotics". That is why the conservatives have addressed the public and the diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia with a request to estimate any such incident, should it occur, as an act of reprisal against the opposition.
However, there is less than a week left before the US Vice President Joseph Biden's arrival to Georgia. The president administration has disseminated information that the distinguished American guest will arrive on July, 22. The oppositionists are going to meet Biden with a mass protest action. It is Georgi Khaindrava as well who is agitating the people for meeting Biden. The former minister on conflict settlement hopes that "almost the whole of Tbilisi will come out into the streets on the day of the US Vice President Joseph Biden's arrival".