Attacks on opposition leaders

Opposition leader Gigi Ugulava beaten up, police charged Ugulava

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Georgian-Dream linked group of wrestlers violently assaulted European Georgia Secretary General Gigi Ugulava in Tbilisi airport on December 11, inflicting injuries.

In a landmark manifestation of policy of impunity for such attacks, not only was the attacker – two times Judo champion of Georgia Saba Gavashelishvili – not apprehended, but it was the victim, Gigi Ugulava who was ironically charged for “beating up” the wrestling champion.

In a surprise late night court hearing the Prosecution proclaimed the former wrestler, who also holds silver medal in world judo championships, as “victim” and secured confiscation of Mr Ugulava’s passport.

Athletes used by Georgian Dream for physically assaulting political opponents are often referred to as “Titushki” similar to groups ran by Victor Yanukovich. In recent escalation of violence, GD-organized violent groups attacked opposition non-violent rallies and offices, including in: Mtskheta and Tbilisi on December 3, Kutaisi on November 30, Zugdidi on December 4.

Georgian Dream has been accused of maintaining groups of wrestlers and former athletes for violent attacks on its opponents. Gavashelishvili was was seen taking part in another violent attempt to break up peaceful rally on November 16.

It is feared that impunity for violence may trigger further trouble as Ivanishvili has ditched the switch to proportional system and maintained aggressive posture in the ensuing crisis.

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