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International Assessments on Georgian Opposition Leader’s Imprisonment

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Georgian Supreme Court’s decision to jail former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava, secretary general of opposition European Georgia party, prompted assessments from foreign officials.

Adam Kinzinger, U. S. Congressman (R-IL) and co-chair of the House Georgia Caucus, was first to publicly denounce Ugulava’s incarceration. “To say this is disturbing would be an understatement,” Kinzinger noted, adding that “using courts as a weapon is NOT Democracy.”

Kinzinger was followed by Senator Jim Risch, chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (R-ID), who expressed disappointment over “increase of politically motivated abuse” of opposition politicians in Georgia. “As I told the Georgian foreign minister last week, collapse of judicial independence and persecution of opposition is unacceptable behavior,” said Senator Risch.

Concerns were raised by Linas Linkevičius, Lithuanian Foreign Minister as well, who slammed the court decision to sentence Ugulava to 38-month imprisonment. Linkevičius further stressed that “upcoming parliamentary elections will be a litmus test for democracy in Georgia.”

The top court of Georgia has found Gigi Ugulava guilty of embezzlement yesterday. The three-member chamber of the Supreme Court delivered the ruling with two votes in favor without oral hearing. Newly appointed Supreme Court justices, former Chief Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze, and Merab Gabinashvili supported the ruling. Noteworthy that Tadumadze served as the Prosecutor General during the Ugulava’s case proceedings in the court of second instance.

This controversial decision led Georgian opposition parties to quit electoral reform talks with the ruling georgian Dream party and to call for large-scale protests throughout Georgia.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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