The Supreme Court’s decision to find Gigi Ugulava, one of the leaders of opposition European Georgia party, guilty of misspending GEL 48 million (USD 17 million) of public money from Tbilisi Development Fund, while serving as the mayor of the capital city, and to send him to jail has triggered mixed reactions from the ruling party and opposition politicians.
Civil Georgia (Civil.ge) offers you a compilation of these assessments.
Georgian Dream assessments
Gia Volski, Parliament’s Vice Speaker, Georgian Dream: “The Prosecutor’s Office has some claims that he has stolen GEL 50 million and think they should [have] appealed the case in the Supreme Court… It does not matter, whether he is a political figure or not… I regret [this] very much, I do not like someone being jailed, but my personal attitude towards this issue will not solve the case.”
Davit Matikashvili, Georgian Dream lawmaker: “We live in the state, where everyone should be equal before the law… It is impossible to have professions or political parties in the countries, whose members are indulged from legal space… It is a clearly legal dispute… There is a tendency [in Georgia] that the cases involving an incumbent politician or former politicians are considered politically motivated… Generally, one should not be happy about the arrest of any person, but justice should be enforced; the law should [be upheld] in the country.”
Grigol Vashadze, the United National Movement: “No matter how many of us they will jail, they will not be able to stop this wave [of protest]. Gigi Ugulava’s imprisonment will encourage all opposition parties to sit down around the table and agree on a joint action plan.”
Davit Bakradze, European Georgia: “[Bidzina] Ivanishvili’s and Georgian Dream’s decision to arrest Gigi Ugulava under any pretext was quite clear over the past months; but what happened today means that yet another shameful precedent has been established proving that there is no institution, no court, no justice in this country… The court has told us today that if Ivanishvili decides, he may charge you again no matter whether you have already served your sentence [or not]. It is no longer even an imitation of law; it is obvious illegality carried out by the Supreme Court today. Thus, in this situation, Georgian Dream should understand that this verdict announced against Gigi Ugulava is the verdict against the incumbent government. The government has crossed the line and the processes cannot be turned back… Only Georgia Dream is responsible for it and it will have to pay the price.”
Nino Burjanadze, Democratic Movement – United Georgia: “An absolutely unimaginable decision was made… I do not remember an era [in Georgia], when a person was twice charged for one and the same crime… This is unimaginable. This is a violation of legal norms, neglecting these norms. It means that there is no law in Georgia. We already knew about it, but now it has been declared openly.”
Giorgi Vashadze, New Georgia: “This step is the decision made by a coward man, hiding behind the court and the prosecutor’s office, the decision of bandits from Georgian Dream. Now I am addressing them – be afraid; you will not be able to frighten us… Gigi Ugulava is a worthy person and he will meet the [court] ruling in a dignified way. Let me tell them that this year is the year of their end.”
Pikria Chikhradze, Lelo for Georgia: “We can say from today [on] that Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgian Dream and Georgian government have moved to a new stage of repressions, a new stage of bloody repressions. It means that we have an absolutely destructive government, which has no arguments at the table of negotiations; the government, which believes that it will weaken opposition by arresting its leaders; the government, which has nothing to tell the international community… Therefore, if the government chooses the path of uncompromising confrontation, we are ready to be uncompromising in this struggle.”
Tamar Chugoshvili, independent lawmaker: “This case has a political context and its political context is extremely negative; it actually put an end to the chance of achieving any political agreement [between the ruling party and the opposition] on other topics.”