A group of seven European Parliament members are holding meetings in Tbilisi on June 3-4.
The delegation includes Czech MEP Libor Rouček and Slovak MEP Boris Zala both from the group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D); Polish MEPs Krzysztof Lisek and Jan Kozlowski both from the group of European People’s Party (EPP); MEP Ryszard Czarnecki of Poland from the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR); Belgian MEP Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck from the group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Austrian MEP Ulrike Lunacek from the group of Greens/European Free Alliance.
During the two-day visit MEPs will meet PM Ivanishvili; Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili; Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani; minister in charge of penitentiary system Sozar Subari; Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, as well as representatives of the UNM parliamentary minority group. The delegation met with civil society representatives on Monday and will also meet representatives of media on June 3.
Ahead of the visit Polish MEP Krzysztof Lisek of EPP group, whom President Saakashvili awarded with St. George’s Victory Order in November 2011 for spearheading adoption of a resolution on Georgia by the European Parliament, requested Justice Minister Tsulukiani for granting him access to UNM secretary general Vano Merabishvili, held in pretrial detention pending trial into multiple criminal charges. In his letter to the Georgian Justice Minister, MEP Lisek says he wants to visit Merabishvili “in order to ascertain the humanitarian conditions in which he currently finds himself”. MEP Lisek tweeted on June 3, that his request for visiting Merabishvili had been approved and would meet ex-PM on June 4.
President Saakashvili’s UNM party is an observer member of EPP. President of EPP Wilfried Martens condemned Merabishvili’s detention as “a very serious setback for Georgian democracy.”