Former Ombudsman of Georgia reproaches President for Gvaramia still being in prison
Nika Gvaramia in prison
Former Georgian Ombudsman Nino Lomjaria blames Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili for the fact that Nika Gvaramia, the founder of the opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV channel, is still in prison.
“If you believe that a particular person is in prison on a false charge, that there is a political motivation behind all this, and if at the same time you have leverage so that this person could be released from prison, there being political prisoners in the country is your responsibility.
The president has the power to counterbalance shortcomings in the judiciary or any political influence […] this leverage exists precisely because the president is responsible for fair justice in the country and intervenes when significant miscarriages of justice occur.
In this case, we really face such a significant shortcoming and, of course, the President is responsible for the fact that Nika Gvaramia is still in prison,” Lomjaria said on Mtavari Arkhi.
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On the occasion of Easter, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili pardoned ten convicts, but Niki Gvaramia was not among them.
“Five convicts are completely released from their sentences. Sentences were reduced for three convicts, and two convicts were completely released from further probation,” the presidential administration said.
Gvaramia’s case was included in a recent US State Department report.
The report mentions that the Ombudsman’s Office, civil society and international human rights organizations have criticized the decision of the Tbilisi City Court ofd May 16, 2022, to sentence Gvaramia to three and a half years in prison on charges of abuse of power.
Citing Amnesty International, the report says that Gvaramia’s case revealed the “growing influence of the government on the courts in a number of cases” aimed at suppressing their critics and opponents.
The report also mentions that the Ombudsman and NGOs regard Gvaramia’s case as political persecution. According to them, journalists, NGOs and the international community have expressed serious concern about the Georgian government’s respect for freedom of speech.
Nika Gvaramia was arrested on May 16, 2022 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison for allegedly using a company car for family needs.