Batumi riots, March 11, 2017. Photo: Irakli Dzneladze RFE/RL

25 April 2017, 14:44

Person accused of organizing Batumi riots goes on hunger strike

Merab Gogoberidze has gone on a hunger strike in protest against charging him with organizing riots in Batumi, said the advocate Paata Shavadze, noting that his client refuses to plead guilty.

On March 11, after policemen imposed a fine on a resident of Batumi for a wrong parking, a spontaneous protest action broke out in front of the building of the GUVD (Interior Department) of Adjara, which demanded, among other things, resignation of Malkhaz Batiashvili, the chief of the patrol police. The action turned into riots, during which 18 protesters and 15 policemen suffered; seven cars were destroyed and burned down.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 24, on suspicion of organizing riots in Batumi, Irakli Chkhvirkiya, a former member of the "United National Movement", and Merab Gogoberidze, the head of the NGO "Centre for Combating Corruption", were detained.

Merab Gogoberidze has officially faced a charge under Part 1, Article 225 (organization of group violence, heading or participating therein) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, said Mr Shavadze.

"We haven’t received any proofs yet; but the case consists of 14 volumes. I believe that it won’t go beyond reasonable suspicions. Merab Gogoberidze will return to his family acquitted. At the first stage, we’ll try to release him on bail," the “InterPressNews” quotes the advocate as saying.

Shavadze has also stressed that Merab Gogoberidze denies the charge and went on a protest hunger strike, the "Georgia-Online" reports.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

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