Preparation for coup was underway in Georgia

Preparation for coup was underway in Georgia

Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office announced that criminal case initiated after the events of June 20 outside the parliament building, where fierce clashes between demonstrators and police took place, was “throughtly inspected and requalified” on the basis of new materials and witness testimonies.

If previously the investigation was carried out under Article 225 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (“Organization of mass violent actions against the police,” now suspects can be charged under one of the most severe articles - “Uprising with intent to overthrow legitimately elected government, change constitutional order and seize power."

In case court will convict someone under this article, defendants could face up to 20 years in prison. This is the most severe term, except for life term, under Georgia's Criminal Code.

So far, the Prosecutor General’s office doesn't name those suspected of attempting this coup, calling defendants in this case “a number of persons involved in anti-state conspiracy,” but claims that these individuals conspired to use “fair protest of the population” against the incident in parliament, where State Duma deputy Sergey Gavrilov set in the speaker's chair. Suspects wanted to "provoke violence, break into the parliament and seize power throughout the country."

The Prosecutor General’s Office claims that if on the night of June 21 demonstrators managed to break into the parliament building, this would lead to change of power in the country, since similar “uprisings” were planned in other regions.

It's still unclear who exactly will be prosecuted under the article 315 of Georgia's Criminal Code. But there are suspects and one accused under Article 225 - chairman of the political council of Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM) Nikanor Melia, who was sentenced by the court to house arrest and was ordered to pay a large bail. Right now he wears a bracelet to control his movement. He was also ordered not to leave his apartment. Several of Saakashvili's comrades who participated in the events on Rustaveli Avenue were called in for questioning as witnesses. But they refused to come to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and left for Europe. In particular, former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili is now in Paris, while former mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava is in Germany.

Most likely, they, along with Nikanor Melia, chairman of the UNM Grigol Vashadze and director general of the oppositional TV company Rustavi-2 Nika Gvaramia will soon be accused of attempted coup. Prosecutor General's office has a hidden video, in which all of the above mentioned people discussed possible seizure of the parliament building on the evening of June 20.

The question on everybody's mind right now is whether criminal case under the article 315 of the Criminal Code will be initiated against citizen of Ukraine and leader of the Ukrainian "New Forces Movement" party Mikheil Saakashvili.

Immediately after clashes at the Rustaveli Avenue, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said that storming of the parliament building, as a result of which 240 people were injured and two lost their eyes because of rubber bullets, was led by Saakashvili. Taking into account specifics of the post-Soviet countries, the Prosecutor General’s Office may take this statement from Prime Minister as a call to action.

Ex-president has already been sentenced by the Tbilisi court to six years in prison for abuse of power, and a new criminal case may be his fifth.