In their joint statement released on July 31, 20 opposition parties said Bidzina Ivanishvili, the chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party is behind the “political decision” of the court to sentence Giorgi Rurua, pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV’s shareholder, to four years in prison.
Rurua, convicted for illegal purchase, storage, and carrying firearms by the Tbilisi City Court on July 30, denies all charges against him. Rurua himself, and much of the Georgian opposition considers him “a political prisoner” – a claim, that the Georgian Dream party strongly rejects.
The opposition parties noted that yesterday’s ruling showcased the tight grip the governing party keeps on the judicial system.
Noting that the release of Rurua was a key part of the March 8 electoral reform deal between the governing party and the opposition, the statement said his incarceration on “made-up charges” “will define political climate” ahead of October polls.
Rurua’s release, on the other hand, would contribute to reducing risks during the anticipated tense political campaign, they added.
The United National Movement, European Georgia, Labor Party, Lelo, Girchi, Republican Party, and Free Democrats, among others, co-signed the statement.
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