EU Ambassador to Georgia, Carl Hartzell said upholding ex-president Saakashvili’s “rights and due legal process are key and under the full responsibility of the Georgian authorities.”
He stated that these “include the right to stand trial in transparent, fair, and due judicial proceedings and the right to adequate healthcare as well as privacy and dignity whilst in prison.” He commended the “trusted local partners” that are helping the EU monitor the developments, highlighting the role of the Public Defender.
Ambassador Hartzell was peaking at the online panel dedicated to the impact of the local elections on EU-Georgia relations, which was hosted by the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), one of Georgia’s key legal aid CSOs.
MEP Marina Kaljurand seconded Ambassador Hartzell’s statement, adding that the European Parliament “follows very closely” the developing situation with the former Georgian president, and expects that “all his rights are respected…and all the legal decisions will be taken by the principle of the rule of law.”
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MEP Anna Fotyga, Secretary-General of the Conservatives and Reformists Party, also said what was happening to Saakashvili “was not right” and that Georgia’s friends at the European Parliament were concerned about the developments.
Speaking more broadly about the ongoing political developments, MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel noted, that in her communication with the ruling Georgian Dream party, she has been stressing that they “are more further than ever” from the stated aim of EU accession, since the Association Agreement – the key framework cooperation – is “not implemented” in several key directions, including the judicial reform, and that they “are walking away every day” from their objective.
She stressed that “at some point” the MEPs won’t be able to approve of sending the EU taxpayers’ money to the country that “is not only not fulfilling its promises, but also its commitments”.