CSOs Accuses Legal Issues Committee Chair of Abusing Power to Silence Opposition

On April 29, 20 civil society organizations issued a joint statement, slamming Legal Issues Committee Chair Anri Okhanashvili for “abusing power and restricting the ability of lawmakers, guaranteed by the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia, to oppose, ask tough questions and receive answers.”

At the ongoing second committee hearing of the Foreign Agents Bill, Chair Okhanashvili expelled over ten opposition MPs. “The opportunity to ask questions is also restricted for representatives of civil organizations,” the statement says.

According to civil society organizations, depriving the opposition of the opportunity to speak and expelling them goes against “the fundamental principles of representative democracy.” The statement says the Chair’s actions are not in line with the Rules of Procedure of the legislative.

The CSOs added that “at the same time, Okhanashvili brazenly interferes with the right of the MPs to determine the content of the question themselves and does not allow sufficient time for posing it, thus stifling the critical opinion and artificially creating an environment for one-party discussion of “Russian law.”

Given the high level of public interest, the CSOs call on Chairman Okhanashvili to ensure “to the maximum extent possible” that participants in the hearing can ask questions and express themselves.

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