The Parliament discussed the appeal of the Prosecutor General of June 25, 2019 N013/4 in view of application of detention to MP Nikanor Melia introduced by the Head of the Prosecutor Supervision Board of the Prosecutor’s Office, Amiran Guluashvili.
“MP is charged for the grave offense against the public safety and order, which under the prevailing law envisages long-term detention”, - the reporter noted.
MP is accused of inciting the peaceful protesters for the violent attack to the police.
On June 20, 2019, the peaceful protesters in front of the Parliament demanded resignation of the Speaker and other officials. Nikanor Melia, addressing the protesters, stated that if the demands were not satisfied in a period of 1 hour, the protesters should move to the Parliament.
“Inasmuch as the demand of the protesters was not met, the part of the protesters led by Nikanor Melia started the attack to the police cordon using various items and damaging the equipment and ammunition of the police. As a result, the policemen and the citizens have been injured”, – the appeal provides.
Nikanor Melia shall be subject to detention under the Criminal Code of Practice on the basis of the formal and actual grounds and on the basis of the accumulated evidences sufficient for the substantiated assumption. “We believe that the only remedy to be applied to Nikanor Melia is detention as any other lighter penalties cannot ensure achievement of these goals”, - the reporter stated.
The session was not attended by the Factions “European Georgia” and “National Movement” as they were asked by Nikanor Melia.
“Today, I am here alone against many of you. I am proud but I doubt you are proud. Today, I am free but you feel being in an awkward obedience. I will have so many to tell my children and grandchildren with pride unlike you. Today, you cannot sentence me just by pushing the button. You just define your destiny and life”, - N. Melia responded to the Chair of the Faction “Georgian Dream”, Mamuka Mdinaradze, who stated that “you and your friends could have acted in two ways – act as you actually do to make the people pity you; and to be accompanied by your friends to prove your innocence with solid arguments. But they abandoned you. Today, they speak only with the political messages. I doubt they lack professionalism to protect you. Don’t estimate their PR actions as they abandoned you to make people pity you”.
According to the Chair of the Legal Issues Committee, Anri Okhanashvili, the Committee discussed the reasonability of the appeal, availability of the resolution on recognizing the person guilty etc. as envisaged under the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure.
“We discussed the issue with the highest responsibility which is proved with our detailed questions and requirements to the public prosecution about the circumstances to allow the Prosecutor General appeal to the Court to apply detention to MP. For hours, despite maximal provocations by the National Movement to tense the situation and trigger the physical confrontation, we demonstrated high responsibility”, - he noted.
“We have studied the issue within the legislation. We are not legitimate to investigate the evidences. We are not a Fact Finding Commission, though we bear duty to inspect the basis of the Prosecutor General for appeal. Realizing our high responsibility and that all are equal to the law, no one is allowed to commit offense”.
MPs are bound with the legislation, Constitution and the Rules of Procedure to make the decision after scrutiny. “We were responded that there are the video footage available evidencing the possible offense of MP and there are the testimonies of the witnesses”.
The Committees jointly discussed necessity of application of detention. “Our obligation is to adhere to the presumption of innocence, though we are obliged to act in line with the law. The appeal of the Prosecutor General is substantiated and we approved it”.
According to the Chair of the Health Care and Social Issues Committee, Akaki Zoidze, the decision is hard to be made as such a decision damages development of Parliamentarism and the standards of parliamentary independence. “The MP, President or Prime Minister – all are equal to the law. The Parliament shall not be privileged if MP violates the law, especially if it is a grave crime – coup or violent invasion in the Parliament”.
The Patriots MP, Emzar Kvitsiani offered the Parliament to vouch for N. Melia as he is under the criminal case released under the bail and still remains in the country. “If it is possible, can any of you vouch for Nikanor Melia? MPs may assume that he will not flee or interrupt the investigation. Maybe we may apply the home arrest. Despite we are of different political directions, he is our colleague and this fact will be written in history that the 9th Term doomed their colleague”.
According to Beka Natsvlishvili, he finds it hard to make a decision as European Georgia using N. Melia as their instrument on June 20-21 is absent at the session. “It is hard for me to make a decision as I cannot see the sufficient evidences, just a technical point. I also hesitate to make a decision as European Georgia is absent”.
According to Gedevan Popkhadze, he only supports the lift of immunity of N. Melia if the immunity will be lifted for every MP. “If there is an initiative annulling the immunity of the Parliament putting us in an equal condition, I would vote for. This decision will not be discriminative. However, I cannot vote for restriction of immunity of N. Melia but if the immunity of us all will be lifted, then I agree to approve the decision. Deprivation of immunity just of N. Melia is discriminative. Upon decision-making, we all shall think of high standard. If the decision is based on this resolution, then it will not be the standard Georgian Dream shall adhere to”.
He left the hall. According to the Georgian Dream MP, Dimitri Khundadze, it was an attempt of the coup on June 20. “It was an attempt of the coup which might gravely result. It was the plan of the internal and external enemies. We were at the edge of the public and state security. The fair rally failed to be accomplished without the damage to the citizens, journalists and the policemen. Often, the responsibility to the country obliges us to ignore our emotions and make the decision necessary for the state and public interests. Yes, it is hard for me to push the green button and lift the immunity of my colleague. Our obligation is to support the law-enforcement officers to investigate the case. I am far from the idea that only Nikanor Melia is to be accused. The police shall in-depth study the case and establish the legal order instead of being emotional in administering the country”.
The Chair of the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee, Giorgi Kakhiani submitted the draft resolution on approval to the Prosecutor General to apply detention for Nikanor Melia.
“Pursuant to paragraph 2, Article 33 of the Constitution and paragraph 1, Article 11 of the Rules of Procedure, the Parliament resolves to approve the appeal of the Prosecutor General on application of detention for Nikanor Melia”. The Resolution to become effective upon promulgation”.
The Parliament approved the appeal with 91 votes.
Patriots abstained from participating in the voting.