Investigation continues into ‘illegal seizure’ of Rustavi 2 channel as limitation period ends

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office says that it is hard to provide evidence in the Rustavi 2 case eight years from the possible illegal seizure of the channel.Photo: Rustavi 2., 17 Jun 2019 - 17:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office says that the investigation into the possibly illegal seizure of the Rustavi 2 private broadcaster under the United National Movement leadership in 2004 continues, despite the 15-year limitation period of the case expired on June 16.

Founders of Rustavi 2, David Dvali and Jarji Akimidze, who founded the channel with now deceased politician Erosi Kitsmarishvili in 1994, asked for the continuation of the investigation around the case last week.

Founders of Rustavi 2 are demanding the punishment of offenders. Photo: Rustavi 2.

The Prosecutor’s Office says that Dvali and Akimidze addressed the office to investigate the case in 2012, shortly after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement.

On February 14 Dvali and Akimidze were given the status of plaintiff,” the Prosecutor’s Office says.

The office, however, states that as the case is being reinvestigated after eight years, it makes it hard for the investigation to provide evidence against possible offenders.

The investigation is in progress and there is no grounds to suspend it,” the Prosecutor’s Office reports.

The ownership of Rustavi 2 has a very controversial history

  • Established in 1994, the broadcasting company changed ownership 20 times between 2004 and 2012.
  • In March 2017 Georgia’s Supreme Court delivered a verdict in favor of Its former shareholder 2004-2006) Kibar Khalvashi, who had filed a lawsuit in 2015, giving him 100 per cent of company shares.
  • A few days later the European Court of Human Rights suspended the enforcement of the Georgian Supreme Court’s verdict.