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The Daily Beat: 29 March

President Salome Zurabishvili participated in the Democracy Summit held at the initiative of US President Joe Biden, reaffirming Georgia’s commitment to democracy and its willingness to cooperate with international partners to build a more democratic world. President Zurabishvili also spoke of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, which she described as “a war against democracy, freedom, and human dignity,” stressing the importance of solid democracies, lively civil societies, and international solidarity to resist such challenges. Speaking at the summit, President praised the Georgian people’s commitment to democracy and called for national reconciliation.

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The co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) visited Georgia, holding meetings with the prime minister and lawmakers both from the opposition and the ruling party. The reform process, the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories, the implementation of twelve EU conditions, Saakashvili’s health, and Nika Gvaramia’s imprisonment were topping the meetings’ discussion agenda. Anri Okhanashvili, the legal affairs committee chairman from the ruling party, assured the PACE co-rapporteurs to consider the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR recommendations when adopting the legislation on “de-oligarchization” and judicial reform.

As part of Sweden’s EU presidency program, Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria, has arrived in Georgia. While in Georgia, Princess Victoria is hosted by the EU monitoring mission (EUMM) and the president. According to the embassy announcement, the royal visit emphasizes the importance of EU Civilian Crisis Management. It also highlights the work of the EU’s civilian missions within the Common Security and Defense Policy (SCDP), forming priorities for Sweden’s EU Presidency. 

An annual report by Amnesty International revealed serious human rights concerns in Georgia. Selective justice, politically motivated prosecution of government opponents, restricted freedom of expression, endangered media environment, eroding judiciary, and women discrimination are among the problems highlighted by the report. The cases of Mikheil Saakashvili and Nika Gvaramia, the director of the opposition TV outlet, are also mentioned in the report. According to an Amnesty International report, Georgia is experiencing a protracted political crisis, and growing concerns over democratic governance and respect for human rights cause its stalled EU advance. 

The civil society organizations issued a statement expressing solidarity with Palitra Media amid attacks from the ruling Georgian Dream party. The CSOs stressed that the campaign launched against Palitra Holding “once again indicates that the ruling party is not interested in the European integration of Georgia or neither in the fulfillment of the 12 recommendations defined by the European Union.”  A few days ago, Palitra Media was verbally attacked by the ruling Georgian Dream party chairman Irakli Kobakhidze who targeted Paitra Media’s editorial policy, directly linking it with the former defense minister and Formula TV owner David Kezerashvili. Palitra Media also denied this information as “false” and “slanderous.”  

Deceased Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s family won a compensation case against wealthy Georgian businessman Irakli Rukhadze on a UK appeal. The Court of England and Wales Appeals Chamber upheld the March 25, 2022 judgment ordering wealthy Georgian businessman Irakli Rukhadze and his business partners to pay significant compensation to the companies Revoker and Recovery Partners owned by the Patarkatsishvili family. Rukhadze owns and manages multi-million dollar projects and assets in Georgia, including the media holding that owns the ruling party mouthpiece “Imedi TV.” He is considered a well-connected and influential man, closely associated with Bidzina Ivanishvili’s business and political interests.


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