Georgia PM Giorgi Gakharia quits over order to detain opposition leader

World

The Prime Minister of Georgia has resigned over plans to arrest an opposition leader, saying the move could cause “political escalation”.

Giorgie Gakharia said a court decision to pace Nika Melia in pre-trial detention posed a risk to the health and lives of our citizens”.

Melia has been accused of organizing mass violence during anti-government protests in 2019.

He denies the charges but faces a nine-year sentence if convicted.

The country’s Interior Ministry said in a tweet that Melia’s arrest had been “temporarily postponed” after the prime minister announced he was stepping down on Thursday morning.

Earlier this week, a court in the capital Tbilisi ordered that the opposition leader should be arrested for failing to pay an increased bail fee.

Melie, who is the leader of the United National Movement” said the charges were “part of ongoing repressions against the opposition”.

The case against dates back to 2019, when thousands of protesters attempted to storm Georgia’s parliament after a Russian MP took the Speaker’s seat and gave a speech in Russian.

Riot police prevented them from entering the building, but hundreds of people were injured.

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