Georgia to Stand by Arrested Adzhar Youth Activists President

TBILISI, JANUARY 9, RIA NOVOSTI – Several activists of the Kmara, a youth organisation in Adzharia, Georgia’s autonomous republic, and their family members were seized by the Adzhar police in Batumi, republican capital, January 7. Drugs, firearms and seditious leaflets were confiscated in their homes during a search, alleged the republican Interior Minister as he was addressing newsmen.

The Georgian government will never put up with the arrests if constitutional compliance of Kmara work is established, says Nino Burjanadze, Georgia’s acting President.

"If they were arrested for opinions which did not coincide with authorities’ political stances, and if they have made no trespasses of the Georgian Constitution, we shall not consent to anyone’s arrest, whether in Adzharia or any other part of Georgia," she stressed to a news conference in Tbilisi today.

"I asked Mr. Abashidze [Adzhar leader] to make personal intervention and learn just why the youth activists were taken," she added.

"It is of tremendous importance to preserve stability and constructive developments throughout Georgia, Adzharia being no exception," the President emphatically said.

She hopes normal contacts between Adzharia and the centre will be restored quite soon: "No one will be persecuted for personal opinions of political developments and for political activism within constitutional norms. I am sure we shall soon restore normal relations with Adzharia, and preserve such relations in the entire Georgia."