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Former Georgian President, PM on Ugulava’s Imprisonment

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Georgia’s ex-President Giorgi Margvelashvili and former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili commented on the recent ruling by the Georgian Supreme Court in the case against opposition European Georgia leader Gigi Ugulava, saying that the justice system has been used for political purposes.

In the interview with TV Pirveli on February 11, Giorgi Margvelashvili said that Gigi Ugulava’s imprisonment has “really changed” the political situation in the country, noting that ex-Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava is “a political prisoner.”

“Ugulava’s imprisonment is a slap in the face of our [international] partners,” Margvelashvili said, and further noted that the latter “expressed a sharp position over violation of democratic principles in Georgia.”

Margvelashvili claimed that Ugulava’s imprisonment while Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze was visiting the U.S. to allegedly settle the situation in Georgia amid negotiations between the opposition and the ruling party,  “is a clear message” to the West that Georgian government disregards its opinion.

Former Georgian President says such message to the West means that “the situation [in Georgia] will not be normalized without Russia.” “If you forget the West, the space for the game is [reserved for] Russia,” he added.

Former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (December 2015 – June 2018) also commented on Ugulava’s verdict through his Facebook post on February 11, saying that the fact can be assessed as “using the justice system for political purposes” amid “breaking its promise on electoral reform” and “strong criticism voiced by strategic partners.”

“By such actions, the government assumes full responsibility for further increase of polarization,” the former Prime Minister said, stressing that his political opinions were and remain radically different from those of European Georgia and Gigi Ugulava.

Kvirikashvili called on the government to do its utmost “to normalize political processes, to avoid polarization in the public and [guarantee] holding the most crucial elections [of October 2020] peacefully.”

Kvirikashvili’s Facebook post is now introuvable as his social media account was shortly deactivated after the announcement.

On February 10, the Supreme Court of Georgia found Gigi Ugulava, one of the leaders of opposition European Georgia party, guilty of misspending GEL 48 million of public money from Tbilisi Development Fund, while serving as the mayor of the capital city, and sentenced him to three years and two months in jail.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, the opposition parties decided to cease electoral reform talks with the ruling Georgian Dream party, and announced a protest rally on Tbilisi’s main Rustaveli Avenue on April 4, where they will unveil a joint action plan for the upcoming parliamentary polls in October.

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

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