Ruling party MP to US Congressman: previous gov’t, not current, used court as weapon

  • Ruling party MP Mamuka Mdinaradze says that Gigi Ugulava’s sentence has nothing to do with political persecution., 11 Feb 2020 - 16:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Ruling party MP Mamuka Mdinaradze has responded to US Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s concern on the arrest of the opposition leader Gigi Ugulava by saying that the court was used as a weapon under the United National Movement government (UNM) that Ugulava belonged to. 

 I agree with Mr. Kinzinger that the court must not be a weapon, as it is not democratic. The court is not a weapon under the current state leadership, it was a weapon under the United National Movement government before 2012 [before the Georgian Dream coalition defeated UNM in parliamentary elections],” Mdinaradze said. 

 Mdinaradze stated that he ‘can say with full responsibility’ to the country’s allies and partners that there is ‘no political persecution’ in the country and ‘this will never happen under the Georgian Dream leadership.’ 

 Unfortunately, we have seen [in the past several weeks]  that statements have been made [by the country’s allies] based on biased information. However, they changed their minds after communication with the Georgian government representatives,” Mdinaradze said. 

 Ugulava, the ex-Tbilisi mayor under the UNM who is now a leader of the European Georgia opposition party, has been sentenced to three years and two months in prison for the alleged embezzlement of 48 million state funds while in office. 

 Ugulava and the opposition say ‘it is political persecution in the election year.’ 

 The opposition has suspended the 2020 election-related negotiations with the ruling party because of the detention. 

The ruling party says that there is ‘no political persecution in the country and if somebody commits a crime he must be held accountable.’