Several members of the European Parliament released statements about Georgian Supreme Court’s February 10 ruling that sent opposition European Georgia leader Gigi Ugulava to prison for 38 months.
Civil.ge offers you an inexhaustive list of the comments by MEPs as follows:
“Georgian people deserve a country based on European values like democracy, human rights and rule of law,” said MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Germany, Greens/European Free Alliance). She tweeted that “selective justice, underhanded litigations, and persecution of political opponents is unacceptable and damages Georgia.”
#Georgian people deserve a country based on European values like democracy, human rights & rule of law! Selective justice, underhanded litigations, and persecution of political opponents is unacceptable and damages #Georgia. @GovernmentGeo pic.twitter.com/W7rOPkJb6D
— Viola von Cramon (@ViolavonCramon) February 11, 2020
“There are worrying news coming from Georgia,” said MEP Michael Gahler (Germany, European People’s Party) on his twitter. “Ahead of the elections, opposition leader Gigi Ugulava is again in prison. We hear about cases against other opposition leaders. Hard to believe it is not politically motivated,” he added. MEP Gahler also regretted that it “endangers consensus on electoral reform.”
Socialist MEP Nacho Sánchez Amor (Spain, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) tweeted that he is “very concerned about last political developments in Georgia.” “The country has a long record on political retaliations. Regrettably the past is becoming painful present,” said Sánchez Amor, further stressing that “any political actor, and Ugulava is a key one, has to be seated in the negotiation’s table, not in a prison cell.”
On February 12, European Parliament’s liberal group of Renew Europe also published a number of comments by MEPs on Ugulava case, titled as “Georgia: The Government must stop abusing its justice system to silence democratic political opposition.”
MEP Petras Auštrevičius (Lithuania, Renew Europe) who is a member of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, said that “after the recent imprisonment of Georgian opposition leader Gigi Ugulava, we are concerned about Georgia’s democratic backsliding, especially because not a long time ago the country was a frontrunner of the EU Eastern Partnership policy.” He noted that “we urge the ruling Georgian Dream party and its founder Bidzina Ivanishvili to demonstrate good will and openness and to fully engage into a political dialogue with the opposition.”
MEP Bernard Guetta (France, Renew Europe) underscored that “it is disturbing to hear that a political figure can be jailed in Georgia because Georgia is not a dictatorship but a democracy, a friend we want to support.” “Don’t let us lose hope in you,” he added.
MEP Karen Melchior (Denmark, Renew Europe), member of the Delegation for EU – Georgia relations, stressed that “the independence of the judiciary is an integral part of a democratic society, and there is dire need to take these allegations seriously, to ensure the functioning of the rule of law in Georgia and rebuild people’s trust towards the justice system.” MEP Melchior further added that “I hope the relationship between the European Union and Georgia will remain close and that we can continue to work towards strengthening democracy and the rule of law in Georgia, but we in the European Parliament will continue to follow further developments closely.”
Ramona Strugariu (Romania, Renew Europe), member of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly said that “the new verdict against Gigi Ugulava comes after the crackdown on civic protests last November.” “When we were attending the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi in December, we were handed a list of 80 opposition members who had been arrested,” she continued, adding that “we need to be firm with the Georgian authorities and make it very clear that the current situation is unacceptable.”
“Opposition voices must not be silenced and reforms, especially on important issues such as the electoral law, must be conducted through dialogue,” MEP Strugariu emphasized. “We were assured by the ruling party that this dialogue will be possible, during the Euronest assembly in Georgia. The latest events, I am afraid, suggest the contrary and deteriorate conditions for the continuation of a proper dialogue with the European institutions as well,” she concluded.
I firmly condemn t/ sentencing of t/ Georgian opposition leader #GigiUgulava. This is a very worrying sign of t/ backsliding on #Georgia’s commitments to build democratic institutions. Instead of encouraging t/ dialogue, t/ ruling party uses t/ courts as tools against opposition. pic.twitter.com/HdSUM6szwU
— Ramona Strugariu MEP (@RamonaStrugariu) February 12, 2020