Amnesty International: Nika Gvaramia's sentence is politically motivated
Gvaramia’s verdict is politically motivated
Amnesty International’s director general for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Marie Struthers, responded to the arrest of Nika Gvaramia, director general of the opposition Mtavari TV channel, saying the case was politically motivated and Gvaramia should be released immediately.
“The sentencing of Nika Gvaramia is a brutal act of politically motivated persecution in response to his views and criticism of the government. Now he faces several years behind bars as the government steps up its efforts to crack down on dissent. Nika Gvaramia must be released immediately”.
Stratters said that Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the political motives behind the case, which serve to stifle free speech:
“The organization is concerned that there is not enough corpus delicti in the criminal case, which was confirmed by Transparency International and the Public Defender of Georgia, who observed the trial. The case is being appealed to resolve these issues.
“Nika Gvaramia has been found guilty of voicing media concerns about the lack of freedom of the press in Georgia and the growing influence of the courts in a number of cases aimed at deterring their critics and opponents”, Struthers said.
On May 16, Nika Gvaramia, director general of Mtavari, the most popular opposition TV channel, was arrested in court. The head of a critical media outlet was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for using a company car for family needs.
Independent experts, representatives of public organizations and politicians consider Gvaramia’s arrest to be politically motivated.
The process was sharply praised by the US embassy as “a disturbing pattern of selective investigations and prosecutions of individuals opposed to the current government”.
The heads of four opposition TV channels in Georgia call on the West not to let the oligarchic regime “completely kill democracy in the country”.