Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has responded to the recent conviction of the co-founder of the opposition-minded TV channel Giorgi Rurua, stating that if someone commits a crime, he must be held accountable, no matter whether he owns a television or is labelled as a political prisoner by the opposition.
Rurua, who calls himself a political prisoner, was sentenced to four years in prison for the illegal possession and carrying of firearms earlier today by Tbilisi City Court.
If someone commits a crime, being called a political prisoner by several people or owning a TV channel must not be an alibi to avoid responsibility,” Gakharia said.
He stated that the Georgian justice system ‘is transparent’ and the government never interferes in the court’s issues.
The opposition claims that Rurua is a political prisoner and he was convicted ‘personally by the founder of the ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili.’
MEP Anna Fotyga has urged Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili to pardon Rurua.
Many friends of #Georgia view arrest and now sentencing of media owner Giorgi #Rurua as political. I encourage the President of Georgia ???????? to use her powers as she did with other figures who were part of the #March8Agreement. That would improve climate in the run up to elections.— Anna Fotyga - Biuro Poselskie (@AnnaFotyga_PE) July 30, 2020
Rurua intends to appeal the verdict.
It was because of Rurua the opposition parties refused to vote for constitutional changes earlier this year, per the March 8 election agreement between the ruling party and the opposition.
The opposition claimed that the ruling party accepted Rurua’s release in the election talks which were mediated by the diplomatic corps which the ruling party strongly denied.