Georgian Gov’t Administration Responds to EPP President

TBILISI – Georgia’s government administration has responded to a statement by the European People’s Party (EPP) President, Joseph Daul, which called on Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to release political prisoners.

The EPP president made the statement after a meeting with the Georgian parliamentary minority party European Georgia, which consists of former members of the opposition bloc United National Movement (UNM).

Among the European Georgia members was ex-Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava, who served a two and a half year term in prison and was released in early January.

Joseph Daul said he was particularly pleased to see Ugulava.

“My thoughts go to the other political prisoners still detained in Georgia and I call on PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili for their immediate release,” Daul wrote in his Facebook post on Tuesday.

Georgia’s government administration released a statement in response, saying they respect the opinions of their European colleagues and always consider their suggestions. 

“However,” the statement feels compelled to remind Mr. Daul,  “justice in a democratic system is administered by the judiciary, not the executive branch or a prime minister.”

The letter places an emphasis on Georgia’s self-identity as a European country, associated with the European Union, which continues to implement European standards in every aspect of society and has transformed itself into a country rooted in the basic values of human freedom. 

“In a democratic system, those guilty are held responsible for their crimes, including violent criminal acts resulting in deaths, torture, dishonor and humiliation.”

The letter concludes by reasserting the government of Georgia’s genuine and good-faith intention not to interfere with the decisions of the court. “The government cannot introduce impunity, which is also unacceptable in a democratic society. These are not the values of a Western, democratic and constitutional state. The Georgian government's adherence to these values cannot be compromised in response to a politically motivated statement,” the administration said.

by Thea Morrison

25 January 2017 12:56