US Embassy in Georgia: "Our assistance is impartial"
US Embassy in Georgia’s response to Georgian authorities
The US Embassy in Georgia responded to the Georgian Dream on the issue of the exclusion of Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze from the professional development program and stated that America’s assistance is apolitical and impartial.
“For 30 years, the United States has supported the Georgian judiciary with programs designed to strengthen its independence and capacity. Our non-partisan, apolitical assistance is rendered regardless of which party is in power. We are confident that our efforts comply with both Georgian and American laws”, the statement said.
Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of Georgian Dream, told the media that Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze will no longer travel to the United States under a program funded by the US government after delivering sentence to the head of the opposition TV Channel Nika Gvaramia.
Kobakhidze said on May 24, that if the embassy does not publish the statements, then the Georgian public will have every right to consider the allegations of discrimination against judges as yet another radical oppositional demagogy and speculation.
Kobakhidze said that such a statement confirmed that the opposition was lying and accusing the US embassy of crimes throughout this period, and this is completely unacceptable:
“If anything is an anti-Western campaign, it is when the opposition accuses the US embassy of pressuring the court. This is an anti-Western campaign and should not be repeated. This was answered unambiguously. Naturally, the US Embassy could not put pressure on the court, this is out of the question”.
When asked why Lasha Chkhikvadze could not go to the USA, the chairman of the ruling party replied that everything would become clear soon.
“The only information you have is some news spread by the radical opposition, nothing more. This is the case. Everything else will clear out siin”, Kobakhidze said.
On May 16, Nika Gvaramia, director-general of the opposition Mtavari TV channel was arrested in court. Gvaramia 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 politically motivated.
The process was sharply criticized 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 destroy democracy in the country”.