Irakli Chkhvirkia and Merab Gogoberidze, who were arrested on charges of organizing the March 11-12 unrest in Batumi and sentenced to one year and six months in prison, were granted preterm release upon the decision of the Prison System Ministry’s preterm release council.
Paata Shavadze, defense lawyer of the convicts, said the commission took into consideration “positive recommendations” by the penitentiary facility and non-governmental organizations. “We consider that eventually they should be recognized as innocent and should be acquitted,” Shavadze said.
The incident over a parking violation ticket in Batumi on March 11, 2017, turned violent as hundreds of local residents protested what they regarded as “harsh” police practice of local law enforcement agency.
A total of 21 persons were arrested over the riots, with 18 of those who pled guilty reaching plea bargaining deals with the prosecution. One more detainee, Lasha Dekanadze, who also denied the accusations, was sentenced last November to one year and three months in jail on hooliganism charges.