21:03, Sunday, 18.08.2019
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Shota Apkhaidze: “My Life Is In Danger”

Tako Khutsishvili

Georgian society is not surprised that activists of the youth movements are imprisoned and threatened by the government. Vice president of the youth movement “Democratic League” and member of the movement “Protect Georgia” Shota Apkhaidze has already addicted to the threatening phone calls. He was attacked two times; in August he was imprisoned seven times for no reason. Shota Apkhaidze said currently his life is in serious danger. “I was informed by reliable source that the government is planning serious revenge against me. They can do everything; I do not exclude possibility of my kidnapping and torturing,” said Apkhaidze.

“Since the rallies on April 9 I have been criticizing president Saakashvili and his law enforcement institutions. I often blame them for illegal activities and violence. Recently, general opposition activities have reduced however I did not stop my struggle. In August, members of the Democratic League held several demonstrations and once more exposed illegal activities of the law enforcement bodies; it irritated the government,” said Shota Apkhaidze.

Shota Apkhaidze recalled the incident about the office of the Democratic League. The League was compelled to leave the office they rented in Anton Catholicos Street N 19; the owner of the office is Zaza Nishnianidze, famous Georgian businessman in Russia. Apkhaidze said Nishnianidze is share-holder of the GMT Group; he is close to the governmental officials of Georgia; besides that he is close to the surrounding people of Vladimir Putin prime-minister of Russia. Zaza Nishnianidze requested the League to leave the office because of his personal business interest. Shota Apkhaidze thinks the businessman demanded them to leave office on political grounds. “We had hired the office for three months. Khatuna Shiukashvili, president of the league was negotiating with him about the issue. Initially Nishnianidze did not know what kind of organization we were and as soon as he learned about us he thought we were dangerous for him. All this time he was asking us why we were not afraid of being opposition movement. He thought we could face some problems or could also be arrested: but we still continue our activities. After the demonstrations he officially demanded us to leave the office and the reason was damaged pipe in the office. But this problem could have been resolved. When his representatives met Khatuna Shiukashvili they said: “We cannot repair the pipe soon and please leave the office.”

Vice-President of the Democratic League said that police visited their office and checked property several times during the rallies.

Shota Apkhaidze: “As a rule, the property is not checked by law enforcement bodies; other institutions shall do it.”

Shota Apkhaidze spoke about the problems in his interview with the newspaper “Alia”. He claims the journalist interpreted his words in different way. “They gave completely different headline to the article and it had no connection with my interview (the title of the article was “Did Alasania and Kodua Kick out Young Opposition Activists from the Office?”). I said there were rumors in the society that Giorgi Kodua (brother of Erekle Kodua, head of Cosntitutional Security Department of Georgia) is shareholder of the GMT Group. I did not blame him for having kicked me out of the office. I heard Kodua is going to appeal to the court against me. I do not know why he was irritated. After all, brother of Zaza Nishnianidze Giorgi Nishnianidze called me and said I had provided “Alia” with incorrect information. Thus, I concluded Nishnianidze asked us to leave office on political grounds.”

Several days later I was informed that some governmental officials intend to revenge me.

Shota Apkhaidze thinks he is absolutely unprotected however he is not going to cease his fight against the government.

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Are there political prisoners in Georgia currently?
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