Georgian court sentences head of opposition Mtavari TV channel to 3,5 years in prison
Director of the opposition Mtavari TV channel was found guilty of property embezzlement
A court in Georgia found Nika Gvaramia, founder and director of the opposition Mtavari TV channel, guilty of embezzling property. Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze fined him 50,000 lari and sentenced him to 3 years and 6 months in prison.
The judge also issued a warrant for his immediate arrest.
Zurab Iashvili, accused in the same case, was acquitted by the court, while Kakha Damenia was fined 50,000 lari.
The prosecutor’s office accused Nika Gvaramia of embezzling large amounts of money and property during the period of his leadership of the opposition Rustavi-2 television company, which, as a result of a legal dispute, came under the control of supporters of the authorities.
Nika Gvaramia was charged in this case on September 6, 2020, along with two other people – Kakha Damenia, former financial director of Rustavi 2, and Zurab Iashvili, director of Inter Media Plus.
Nika Gvaramia was previously “accused of abusing the managerial and representative powers of the enterprise”, he was assigned bail of 40,000 as a preventive measure, and his right to leave the country was limited.
Gvaramia himself, as well as journalists from the TV company and the opposition, consider the case against Gvaramia fabricated, and his arrest as political persecution and an attack on freedom of speech.