A judge has declined a bail request for former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava, who is in a pre-trial detention for almost eight months amid ongoing trial into number of criminal charges against him, which he denies as politically motivated.
Ugulava’s defense filed a motion earlier this week requesting for his release on GEL 20,000 bail. Prosecution objected, saying that there has not been any new circumstance since pre-trial detention was ordered in July that could justify defense’s motion for release of Ugulava on bail; prosecutor told judge, Nino Sandodze, that Ugulava should be remanded in detention in order to prevent him from fleeing the country or from otherwise obstructing course of justice.
“Ugulava was already facing criminal charges when he left and returned back to the country for thirteen times before being arrested – I think it is unimaginable for any unbiased observer why there is a threat of Ugulava fleeing,” ex-mayor’s defense lawyer, Otar Kakhidze, said. “Politically motivated prosecution is underway against UNM leaders and this case against Ugulava and his detention is a continuation of this [process].”
At the time of his arrest on July 3, Ugulava had already faced criminal charges, standing trial in connection to separate cases. One day before his arrest, court turned down prosecution’s request in connection to separate criminal charges to seize Ugulava’s passport to prevent him from traveling abroad.
After the arrest, Ugulava was charged in connection to two new separate cases – one involving allegations of money laundering and another one related to incident at the Marneuli District Election Commission that took place in early June.
Maximum length of pre-trial detention is 9 months, according to the Georgian laws.