Georgian press digest: excerpts


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Subject: Georgian press digest: excerpts

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Georgian press digest: excerpts


ANNOTATED DAILY HEADLINES OF THE GEORGIAN PRESS
 
Compiled by the Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and
Development (CIPDD)
 
Text: Tamara Shamil
English version: Guram Dumbadze
Editor: Emil Adelkhanov-Steinberg
 
July 6, 1999
 
...............

2. EVERYTHING AS OF OLD

The first congress of the movement "Georgia Above All" chaired by
Guram Sharadze, MP, took place in Tbilisi on July 2. In his speech Mr.
Sharadze declared the prioriries of the movement: the country's
independence, reforms [the first two items of any programme nowadays.
- CIPDD], the primacy of the rights of Georgians (of course, together
with respect to the rights of the other citizens), preservation of
national traditions, the status of state religion for Orthodox
Christianity, etc. The movement will fight against religious sects,
land market and exhibiting national relics abroad.
Teimuraz Koridze. "Droni" No. 71, July 3, p. 3
 
3. A GEORGIAN PRISONER CUT HIS VEINS IN THE SUKHUMI PRISON

Murtaz Ekhvaia, Ghia Kardava and Shukri Lashkhia were captured by
Abkhaz last year when the escalation of the conflict took place in the
Gali district of Abkhazia. An Abkhaz court sentenced them to 13 years'
imprisonment each. For the last 18 days their friends have been
picketing the bridge over the Enguri river (which separates Abkhazia
from the rest of Georgia), demanding to release them. They say Murtaz
Ekhvaia has cut his veins in the Sukhumi prison.
Rusiko Mikava. "Resonance" No. 181, July 6, p. 2
 
4. THE PATRIARCHATE DEMANDS TO PROHIBIT THE SECT OF JEHOVAH WITNESSES

If the state does not define the status of the Orthodox Church as
privileged, the traditional Georgian Orthodox culture may be
supplanted by a hybrid one introduced from abroad, George Andriadze,
the head of the theological commission under the Patriarchate of the
Georgian Orthodox Church, warns. He says the "totalitarian sect of
Jehovah Witnesses" (associating c. 40 thousand Georgian citizens) must
be outlawed as an antisocial organisation. When asked why not the
Baptists or Adventists, he said the Patriarchate could not demand
their outlawry since, being "traditional sects", they are under
protection of international law. For its part, the State Chancellery
Department for Religious Affairs claims that a sect cannot be
prohibited unless it violates the current laws.
Prime-News agency. "Resonance" No. 180, July 5, p. 7
------------------------

July 7, 1999

1. GEORGIA LAUNCHING AN "OFFENSIVE" ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL

The international conference "The Policy of Genocide and Ethnic
Cleansing in Abkhazia, Georgia: the Main Tool of Aggressive
Separatism" initiated by Eduard Shevardnadze and organised by the
Centre of East-West Studies, the Congress of NGOs and the Georgian
Journalists' Charter took place in Tbilisi on July 6-7. High
officials, 
representatives of the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government, refugees,
public figures, political scientists and scholars, including foreign
ones, participated in the conference. In his speech Procurator-General
Djamlet Babilashvili said his office had collected more than 200 files
with documents on the conflict in Abkhazia and questioned more than 25
thousand witnesses. On the whole, according to the Office, more than
6,000 Georgians have been killed in Abkhazia and 600 are missing.
About 300,000 Georgians were forced to leave their homes. The total
damage inflicted by the conflict is estimated at some $10 billion. The
conference is going to appeal to the UN Security Council and
international community for a legal judgement on the Abkhaz
separatists' crimes.
Nato Korsantia. "Dilis Gazeti" No. 152, July 7, p. 4

2. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL DRAWS CONCLUSIONS

Amnesty International has just published its 1999 report on human
rights violations in the world, which covers the events of
January-December 1998. The newspaper reproduces the excerpt on human
rights violations in Abkhazia from the chapter "Georgia" and writes
that the chapter is mainly focused on Abkhazia [in fact, the report
gives not less consideration to Georgia proper]. Last year, Amnesty
International urged the Abkhaz de facto authorities to ensure the
safety of all residents of Abkhazia, regardless of their ethnic
origin, and to instigate impartial investigations into all instances
in which Abkhaz forces were accused of murdering civilians. It also
urged them to release prisoners of conscience (at least six Jehovah
Witnesses).
"Svobodnaya Gruzia" No. 151, July 7, p. 2
------------------------


July 8, 1999

...............

2. THE ABKHAZ TRYING TO BRING PRESSURE TO BEAR ON GEORGIA

According to the information centre for the political settlement in
Abkhazia, the Abkhaz human rights commission has appealed to the UN
Security Council and world community, demanding to exert pressure on
Georgia. To change the situation in the region by force, the Georgian
government pursues the policy of terror against Abkhazia, using
terrorist groups, the statement says.
Iprinda news agency. "Alia" No. 106, July 8-9, p. 3
------------------------


July 9, 1999

1. THE NUMBER OF GEORGIAN HOSTAGES IN CHECHNYA INCREASED DRAMATICALLY

According to Mamuka Areshidze, the chairman of the parliamentary
co-ordination group for relations with the Caucasian nations, the
number of Georgian hostages in the North Caucasus has increased since
February and reached 24. Most of them have been captured in Chechnya
or Ingushetia, some on the Georgian territory, with a view to get a
ransom. All they have been conveyed to Chechnya where they are often
treated like slaves. He did not give the names of those abducted.
Eka Kvesitadze. "Shvidi Dge" No. 79, July 9-11, pp. 1, 3

2. BATUMI DID NOT ALLOW TAX INSPECTORATE TO AUDIT THE SHIPPING COMPANY

The Adjarian leadership did not allow a group of tax inspectors, who
had come from Tbilisi to examine financial activities of the shipping
company, to inspect the Maritime Bank which provides the company with
its 
services.
Prime-News agency. "Svidi Dge" No. 79, July 8, p. 3

3. WHY ARE THEY DIGGING TRENCHES IN THE TSKHINVALI REGION?

According to Revaz Adamia, the chairman of the parliamentary defence
and security committee, the self-proclaimed South Ossetian republic is
going to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the Russian peacekeeping
mission in the region on July 16. In his words, no Georgian official
will participate in such a blasphemous celebration. Of late, he says,
some strange events took place in the region: the personnel of
peacekeeping force has been changed, and now it is manned basically
with residents of North Ossetia and other North Caucasians; the
peacekeepers are digging trenches for unknown purposes. Nothing of
that had ever been submitted to the Georgian government's approval, he
said.
Gea news agency. "Akhali Taoba" No. 186, July 8, p. 5 

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