A group of 14 local civil society organizations, including Transparency International Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Georgian Democracy Initiative and UN Association of Georgia said that the case against Nika Gvaramia, former director general of Rustavi 2 TV, “may be politically motivated and is aimed at persecuting opponents and critical media.”
In a joint statement released on August 9, the developments over the past months have shown that the investigative bodies “have become noticeably active against the opponents of the government, as well as towards individuals that have a direct or indirect link with media outlets running a critical editorial policy.”
The CSOs supposed that “the accelerated manner of investigation into Gvaramia’s case is noteworthy as there are many other cases of high public interest that are not investigated as promptly and quickly.”
“Moreover, the Prosecutor’s Office decision to become active against Gvaramia coincided with the latter’s announcement of the intention to create a new TV company,” the statement reads.
The group called on the Prosecutor’s Office “to present the specific hard evidence of the case and to act within the interests of the law rather than through the interests of the ruling party.”
The statement by the CSOs came after the Prosecutor’s Office announced earlier on August 9 that it will charge Nika Gvaramia over abuse of power. The Prosecutor’s Office also noted that investigation has been launched under article 220 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving abuse of power and punished by imprisonment for a term of three to five years.