Twenty Georgian opposition parties released a joint statement earlier today in which they said that the recent conviction of a co-founder of the opposition-minded TV channel Mtavari Arkhi Giorgi Rurua has political grounds.
The parties claimed that Rurua’s sentencing to four years in prison for the alleged illegal possession and carrying of firearms contradicts the March 8 election agreement between the ruling party and the opposition.
The March 8 agreement would have seen the release of Rurua and said that detentions on political grounds are unacceptable. Rurua’s conviction is the political decision of Bidzina Ivanishvili (the head and the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party) and shows the obedience of the judiciary to the ruling party”, said the statement.
The parties say that Rurua’s release will decrease threats of tension during the ‘complicated election campaign’ for the state.
The ruling party and the prime minister say that the government never interferes in the judiciary’s issues and that the country has no political prisoners
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,” PM Giorgi Gakharia said.
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.
I remain concerned about today's sentencing of Giorgi #Rurua on spurious charges in #Georgia – a legal system should never be used to fulfill political aims. President Zurabishvili should pardon Mr. Rurua in the interest of depolarizing the political climate as elections near.— U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SenateForeign) July 30, 2020
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.
Giorgi Rurua is the brother of a deceased official under the previous United National Movement government Nikoloz Rurua.