Sentencing four years to prison for Giorgi Rurua, pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV’s shareholder, prompted mixed reactions among the Georgian politicians. Civil.ge offers comments by the Georgian Dream and opposition politicians.
Governing Georgian Dream party
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia: A person should face consequences and be sent to jail if she/he commits a crime, and then she/he can be released, there are various legal forms for that to take place… Pardoning rests solely in President’s discretion, and I have no idea, whether the President will pardon him or not… […] Calling someone a “political prisoner” or being a TV owner is not an alibi for any offender to escape persecution.
Davit Matikashvili – Georgian Dream MP: This court ruling ends speculations of opposition parties that tried to portray one of the criminal leaders of a criminal grouping named as the United National Movement as innocent. This is exactly an example of a thorough implementation of the March 8 deal, as the [executive] authorities are not interfering in the court decisions.
Salome Samadashvili, United National Movement MP: We see today that there exists no judicial branch of the government in the country. This decision will be costly for Bidzina Ivanishvili [ruling party chairman] on the international arena. Giorgi Rurua will have to spend a lot less time in prison than he already served there. At the end of October, the government will be changed [through elections] and we will create a political environment in the country, where there will be no political prisoners left.
Elene Khoshtaria, European Georgia MP: – I would not call this a court[room process]. The entire court process showed that Giorgi Rurua is a victim of the system, that [the cops] planted firearms on him. For what reason? Clearly, to intimidate [others] and to see how the Georgian society and international community reacts to political persecution and misuse of courts for political purposes. No citizen wants to have court in the country that serves as a slave to the governing party.