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Former Judge Says Received Death Threats to Issue Ruling Favored by GD

Besarion Alavidze, the former Supreme Court judge, says he was threatened with having “his brains smashed” if he did not rule in the Rustavi 2 case as Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream government wanted.

“During the Rustavi 2 trial, a message was delivered to me that if I did not make the desired decision, they would smash my brain,” Alavidze told Formula TV, adding that he received this message from one of the Chairs of the Supreme Court, although he added that someone else, whom he did not name, was behind the threat. He said when the time comes, he will speak about this matter in detail.

The Rustavi 2 ownership dispute was one of the highly controversial cases in which the Rustavi 2 TV channel claimed that its former owner, Kibar Khalvashi’s lawsuit to regain the broadcaster was orchestrated by the Georgian Dream government. Rustavi 2 lost the battle in all three instances of the Georgian courts. According to Rustavi 2 TV and many opposition parties, the court case was an attempt by then-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to silence the station, which was critical of the government. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Georgia, the country’s highest appeals court, ruled in favor of Kibar Khalvashi and granted him property rights. The case was appealed to the ECHR, which ruled in 2019 that there had been no violation of fair trial guarantees in the Rustavi 2 property dispute.

However, the former Georgian Supreme Court judge now came forward claiming that he was threatened with his life for not delivering the desired verdict in the interests of Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream. “The decision in this case was not made under free conditions,” Alavidze said, adding that the judge’s impartiality and independence were violated.

Alavidze said that when the GD came to power in 2012, many of the judges who are now praised by the GD for being free and honest were, in fact, called “executioners” by the party officials. He noted that many of these judges, who later solidified into a “clan” of judges, had charges against them by the Prosecutor’s office, and these cases (including criminal ones) and missteps were forgiven by the new authorities in exchange for loyalty to the ruling party.

The former judge said the case of Rustavi 2 TV was one of those of interest to the GD and its patron, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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