Posts by DFWatch staff:

News

‘Undue connections between political groups and law enforcement’

by | Jul 26
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili political groups have informal connections with law enforcement and other state bodies and are using them for political purposes. “This trend is used for political goals,” the president said on Monday,

Elections

Two members of opera singer’s opposition party detained

by | Jul 26
paata_burchuladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday night, police in Georgia detained two members of a newly formed opposition party led by the opera singer Paata Burchuladze. The two members of State for People were detained outside the party office in Temka, a northern district

Minorities

Catholics win discrimination lawsuit in Georgia

by | Jul 25
catholic_mass

TBILISI, DFWatch--Catholics in Rustavi, 20km south of the Georgian capital, have won a court’s backing that they were discriminated against after failing to get a construction permit to build a church there. The Catholic community in Rustavi applied for permission

Caucasus region

Militants release all hostages in Yerevan, but stand-off continues

by | Jul 24
police_line_Yerevan

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of up to 25 armed militants occupying a police building in Yerevan released all their hostages Saturday but refused to surrender, demanding the president's resignation and the formation of an interim government.

News

Georgia reacts to Munich shooting

by | Jul 23
Giorgi_Kvirikashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Foreign Ministry extended its condolences to the families of the victims and solidarity with the government of Germany. Nine people were killed in a shooting rampage in Munich at a McDonald’s restaurant Friday evening, in addition to the

News

Interpol halts search for Georgian public enemy number one

by | Jul 23
igor giorgadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol has called off its search for the Georgian former intelligence chief Igor Giorgadze, who has been a staple of domestic politics as the preeminent ’bad guy’. Giorgadze is accused of having organized an assassination attempt

News

Two rugby players among injured in deadly car crash in western Georgia

by | Jul 22
ambulance_kutaisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian rugby players are among the injured after a deadly car crash in western Georgia in which three people died and four were injured. The accident happened last night when a BMW and a Nissan Tiida crashed on the Kutaisi-Samtredia

News

Georgia’s jailed ex-interior minister thinks Strasbourg ruling will free him

by | Jul 22
vano_merabishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former interior minister Vano Merabishvili, who has been in prison since May 2013, claims a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will soon lead to his release. After a two years’ silence, Merabishvili

Economy

Russian lawmakers demand punishment of Georgia for joining EU sanctions

by | Jul 21
Ian_Zelinsky

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of lawmakers in the Russian Duma are preparing to demand that the Kremlin take punitive measures against Georgia for joining the European Union's economic sanctions against Russia. The Duma's foreign relations committee is working

In brief

Four dead as truck overturns in western Georgia

by | Jul 21
accident_in_Chorotsku

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four people died when a truck crashed in western Georgia on Thursday. The accident happened in Lugela Valley near the village Nukhuri. According to Interpressnews, the truck of the brand Kamaz crashed and overturned after the driver lost control

News

65-year-old German missing for one week near breakaway Abkhazia

by | Jul 20
mestiaaaa

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are still searching for Sergei Smislov, a 65-year-old German citizen who disappeared one week ago on a mountain road near Georgia's breakaway territory Abkhazia. Shortly before he disappeared, Smislov received

Media

President claims Georgian media have become more anti-Western

by | Jul 20
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili claims the media in his country are publishing more anti-Western stories now than they used to. In an interview with the program ‘Archevani’ on Rustavi 2 TV Tuesday evening, he said it was

In brief

Russian woman missing in Kazbegi after climbers struck by lightning

by | Jul 20
kazbegi

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman is missing after a group of three climbers were struck by lightning at 5,000 m altitude yesterday in the Kazbegi mountains. Two of the group were injured, and later rescued, but the third - a woman from Moscow - went missing.

News

Plaintiffs give up suits after years of waiting for overloaded Tbilisi court

by | Jul 20
kandashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Filing a lawsuit with the courts in Tbilisi might mean a long wait, due to a lack of judges and resources. People who file lawsuits in the Georgian capital might have to wait for years to see their case reach a conclusion.

Politics

GD names Shevardnadze era minister as candidate for parliament

by | Jul 19
koba_narchemashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Koba Narchemashvili, who was interior minister at the moment when Eduard Shevardnadze was deposed as president in the Rose Revolution, was Tuesday nominated by Georgian Dream as majoritarian candidate for parliament. As commander

News

Turkish consul claims Gülen school in Georgia fostering terrorism

by | Jul 19
Fethullah_Gulen

TBILISI, DFWatch--Turkish consul in Batumi Yasin Temizkan has called on Georgian authorities to close down a private school in the city because it is fostering terrorism. The Şahin schools are funded by the movement of Fethullah Gülen (pictured), a Turkish preacher,

News

Free Democrats lose education expert Zaza Piralishvili

by | Jul 19
piralishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prominent member of the Free Democrats resigned from the party on Friday, stating that he doesn't feel comfortable in politics. Philosopher Zaza Piralishvili stated that his leaving the party was not due to any conflict with other party members or having issues with its ideology.

News

Georgian parliament scraps anti-smoking bill

by | Jul 19
cigarettes2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia Monday rejected a bill to bring in stricter control of tobacco products. Resistance to the bill within the governing coalition proved too strong, as opponents believe it will create problems for business. Lela Sturua,

News

Georgian PM extends condolences to Yıldırım, confirms Turkey trip

by | Jul 18
giorgi_kvirikashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke by phone with his Turkish colleague Binali Yıldırım on Monday, and both confirmed that Kvirikashvili will visit Ankara for the first session of the Georgia-Turkey strategic partnership council on July 19.

In brief

Two hospitalized after shooting incident in Tbilisi

by | Jul 18
police_line

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons are injured after a shooting incident at noon Monday in front of the National Enforcement Bureau in Tbilisi. The enforcement bureau said the shooting was not related to them but a confrontation between private individuals. Witness

News

Georgian man confirmed dead in Nice terror attack

by | Jul 18
victims_Nice_attack_street

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen who went missing after the terrorist attack last Thursday in Nice was confirmed dead on Monday, Georgia’s Ambassador to France Eka Siradze Delone told Interpressnews. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of Roman Ekmaliani,

Politics

Republican Party tops reject offer to join Georgian Dream

by | Jul 18
Davit Usupashvili (IPN)

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of the Republican Party says he and other party tops have received an offer from the ruling Georgian Dream to abandon their own party and join them ahead of the election, but they rejected the offer. In an interview with the newspaper

News

Turkey crisis: Border opens, stranded plane passengers return

by | Jul 17
sarpi_open

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s border crossings with Turkey at Sarpi, Kartsakhi and Vale are working normally after being partially blocked on Saturday morning due to the recent events in Turkey. A short statement by Georgia’s Revenue Service says passengers

Elections

Free Democrats name their candidates for majoritarian MPs

by | Jul 17
irakli_alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Free Democrats, a party which withdrew from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition in 2014, on Saturday named its candidates for majoritarian MPs in the October 8 parliamentary election. The nominees were selected on Saturday

News

Campaigners’ plea to president to free 22-year-old caught with ecstasy

by | Jul 17
dagvibrunet_kote

TBILISI, DFWatch--Groups demonstrated Thursday to ask the president to release a 22 year old man who is serving a one year prison sentence for possession of two grams of ecstasy. Kote Japaridze, the recipient of a presidential scholarship, was arrested

News

Coup attempt in Turkey prompts Georgia to close border

by | Jul 16
Sarpi___border

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Georgia decided Saturday morning to seal its land border to its neighbor Turkey and cancel all flights into that country for the time being, out of concern for the safety of civilians. At the border crossing near Sarpi, only Turkish citizens are currently

News

One Georgian feared dead in Nice attacks

by | Jul 15
tbilisi_tv_tower_french_tricolor_2016-07-15

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Georgian citizen is reported missing after the terrorist attack in Nice, the Georgian ambassador to France has confirmed. The man’s wife, who is not a Georgian citizen, is confirmed dead. Moambe, the evening news program on Georgia’s Channel 1,

News

Four Georgians missing after Nice terror attack have been found safely

by | Jul 15
nice

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four Georgian citizens who were reported missing after the terrorist attack in Nice during the national celebrations July 14 have been found safely, the Georgian embassy said. The embassy contacted the missing persons and found

News

Bring back Tbilisi tram? Too expensive, says City Hall

by | Jul 15
tbilisi-tramvai

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall is not planning to bring back the trams in the capital, despite a call from a member of Tbilisi City Council. City Hall will only considers it in a long-term perspective. Aleko Elisashvili, independent member of Tbilisi City Council,

In brief

Batumi will accumulate trillions of dollars: PM

by | Jul 14
giorgi_kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--During the opening ceremony of the international conference ‘Georgia’s European Way’ in Batumi, prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili declared that ‘trillions of dollars’ will be accumulated in the city as a result of trade between Europe and China.

In brief

PM Kvirikashvili makes a case for Georgian EU membership

by | Jul 14
kvirikashvili-giorgi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Kvirikashvili on Thursday expressed hope that Georgia will become a member of the European Union in the near future. He said this during the opening ceremony of the annual conference ‘Georgia’s European Way’

News

Umar Shishani confirmed dead by Islamic State

by | Jul 14
umar-shishani

TBILISI, Dfwatch--The Islamic State military commander Tarkhan Batirashvili, a native of the village Birkiani in Georgia’s Pankisi valley, widely known under his nom de guerre Umar Shishani, was confirmed dead by Amaq Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic State.

News

Georgian Dream announces top 15 candidates for parliament – 8 are women

by | Jul 14
dream

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream Party on Wednesday announced its top 15 people on the party list for the parliamentary election in October. The list consists of eight women and seven men. There are no MPs or cabinet members among them. Three of them are deputy ministers.

News

Who will be Georgia’s next defense minister?

by | Jul 14
tina_khidasheli_warsaw-2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is still unknown who will replace Tina Khidasheli as defense minister, but local media name three possible candidates: Irakli Sesiashvili, Koba Kobaladze and Kakhi Kakhishvili. The decision will be made by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili,

News

New runway opened at Tbilisi International Airport

by | Jul 14
Tbilisi_runway

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new runaway was opened at Tbilisi International Airport on Monday. During the 12 weeks of construction work on the new runway, no flights were cancelled but some were rescheduled. The runaway was closed for ten hours

News

Keti Tsikhelashvili becomes acting minister for reconciliation and civil equality

by | Jul 13
keti_tsikhelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Keti Tsikhelashvili, Deputy Minister for Reintegration and Civil Equality, will be the acting minister as Paata Zakareishvili from the Republican Party leaves his post in connection with the 2016 election campaign. Zakareishvili said on Tuesday

News

Tbilisi buys 143 new longer, gas-powered buses

by | Jul 13
Man_bus

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi is buying 143 new natural gas powered buses that are more environmentally friendly and accommodating to people with disabilities. But the ticket price will remain the same, City Hall assured us. The new 30-seat German-made

In brief

Johannes Hahn to visit Georgia tomorrow

by | Jul 13
johannes_hahn

TBILISI, DFWatch--On 14 July, the EU commissioner for enlargement Johannes Hahn will visit Georgia. Mr Hahn will hold meetings with Georgian officials, including Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, minister of foreign affairs Giorgi Janelidze,

News

Two Islamist militants from Georgia killed in Syria

by | Jul 12
Mideast Syria

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men from Pankisi valley in Georgia, one aged 26 and the 34, have been killed in Syria. The younger of them, Bekkhan (Beka) Tokhosashvili, was a native of the village Birkiani. Tokhosashvili left Georgia in 2014 and joined the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria,

In brief

Magnitude 4.8 earthquake rattles Tbilisi

by | Jul 12
earthquake_dmanisi_2016-07-12

TBILISI, DFWatch--An earthquake of magnitude 4.8 caused slight shaking in the Georgian capital Tbilisi Tuesday afternoon. The quake occurred at 2:14pm local time and had its epicenter 10-15 km away from Dmanisi, a town in southern

News

Two Republican members of government resign

by | Jul 12
Usup

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party in Georgia announced on Tuesday at its members of the government are resigning. The ministers who will be leaving their posts shortly are Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli and Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili.

News

Ukraine’s police chief claims her native Georgia plans to revoke citizenship

by | Jul 12
khatia_dekanoidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian government official who started a new career as head of Ukraine’s police force claims the government of her native country threatens to revoke her citizenship. Khatia Dekanoidze was education minister during President Mikheil Saakashvili,

Security

NATO countries agree to ‘intensify cooperation’ with Georgia

by | Jul 11
Barack_Obama_WARSAW

TBILISI, DFWatch--At the Warsaw summit last weekend, NATO agreed to strengthen its cooperation with Georgia to bolster its defense capabilities. In a joint statement signed by foreign ministers of member countries as well as Georgia, the countries write that

In brief

Abkhazian referendum on early presidential elections declared invalid

by | Jul 11
sukhumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The referendum on early presidential elections in Abkhazia was declared invalid by de facto electoral commission due to low turnout. According to Abkhazia’s de facto Electoral Commission, slightly over one percent of eligible voters

News

Police move against construction company Center Point, 2 arrested

by | Jul 10
maia_rcheulishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia on Sunday arrested two persons in the management of the construction company Center Point and tried to arrest a third who was not at home. Two of them were arrested in the morning, while later representatives

Security

Georgia will stay in Afghanistan until the mission is completed

by | Jul 10
tina_khidasheli_warsaw-2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will continue its participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli said at the alliance’s summit in Warsaw. A meeting was held between heads of state from countries that participate

Environment

Two drown in western Georgia as rain continues ‘almost non-stop’

by | Jul 8
Batumi_flood_01

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 17-year-old boy has drowned in the river Abashistskali in Martvili, western Georgia. The boy's body was pulled out of the river Friday morning. Elguja Jamrishvili, head of the Underwater Federation of Georgia, who was searching

Security

Georgian cross-party declaration confirms goal is NATO and EU membership

by | Jul 8
EU_NATO_flags

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian delegation to the NATO summit in Warsaw has presented a document signed by six political parties, reiterating their support for the country’s course toward a closer integration with the alliance. The document was signed

News

Georgia doesn’t expect a NATO membership plan this time around

by | Jul 8
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi considers it unlikely that NATO will offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Warsaw summit, which begins today, after a number of officials from member countries made it clear that it is not on the agenda. Georgian authorities believe

Minorities

Sabi murder case may go to the Supreme Court as prosecutor appeals

by | Jul 7
sabi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday appealed a ruling in the Appeals Court to acquit the defendant in the murder of transgender woman Sabi Beriani. If approved, the case could go to the Supreme Court.

News

New Stadler KISS bilevel trains arrive in Tbilisi

by | Jul 7
Stadler_KISS_train_in_Tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Swiss-made bilevel trains have arrived in Georgia and will be servicing the Tbilisi-Batumi line starting later this month. The bilevel train cars are manufactured by Stadler and arrived in Tbilisi yesterday. A spokesperson for Georgian Railway

Environment

Road connecting Georgia and Russia still closed due to risk of landslide

by | Jul 6
dariali_valley_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road through Dariali Valley is still closed because of further landslides after the June 23 incident. According to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, traffic will be restricted until July 7, as it can not be ruled out

News

Kerry visits Georgia ahead of NATO summit in Warsaw

by | Jul 6
john_kerry

TBILISI, DFWatch--A few days prior to a NATO summit in Warsaw, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding about defense and security cooperation between the United States and Georgia.

News

Abkhazia won’t hand over murderer of Georgian IDP

by | Jul 6
hajimb

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto president of Abkhazia Raul Hajymba (Khadzhimba) told Russian media that the murderer of Georgian IDP Giga Otkhozoria won’t be handed over to the Georgian side.

News

CEC rejects referendum bid about gay marriage due to shortfall of signatures

by | Jul 5
11_-_May_17_2014_Cropped_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the attempts to hold a referendum about same-sex marriage has been rejected by Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) because the sponsors failed to collect the required 200,000 signatures. The CEC’s decision was unanimous.

News

Tbilisi airport gets 24 hour bus service, ticket price 22 US cents

by | Jul 5
new_airport_bus

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international airport is now serviced all night through by the regular daytime bus line number 37, Tbilisi City Hall informs. Before the new schedule on July 4, line 37 had been operating until midnight, like other municipal bus lines in the capital.

News

Speaker of parliament wants full disclosure about Istanbul mastermind

by | Jul 5
Lapamkuri, 2012 (IPN)

TBILISI, DFWatch--The speaker of Georgia’s parliament says people must know the truth about the suspected Istanbul bombing mastermind and his role in a mysterious shooting incident in Georgia in 2012. The same day, a member of government

News

‘Mastermind of Istanbul attack was an agent for Saakashvili’

by | Jul 5
sozar_subari

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two leading politicians in Georgia believe that Akhmed Chatayev, the suspected mastermind of the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, was an ‘agent of the previous government.’ “It turns out that this prominent terrorist [Chatayev] was an agent

Society

Georgia is in 54th place on index of human well-being

by | Jul 5
woman sitting street

TBILISI, DFWatch--An index that measures how well countries provide for basic human needs lists Georgia in 54th place, far behind most European countries. The most socially progressed country among 133 countries surveyed is Finland, according to the 2016 Social Progress Index.

Economy

Georgia notes 18% rise in number of tourists in first half of 2016

by | Jul 4
tourism_climbing_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of foreign visitors to Georgia went up 12.9% and the number of tourists 18.1% in the last six months, the National Tourism Administration said on Monday. The latest figures confirm that Georgia continues to attract more visitors.

In brief

Cancelled trains in western Georgia

by | Jul 4
matarebeli-liandagi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several trains will be cancelled in western Georgia the next few days due to ongoing work between Supsa and Ureki. All tracks in Supsa and tracks connecting Ureki and Supsa will be closed from 06:00 on July 5 to 06:00 on July 6, according

News

Georgia denies that Istanbul airport attack’s mastermind was its citizen

by | Jul 4
axmed chataevis 2012-12-06

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia and Georgia disagree about what citizenship the suspected mastermind behind the terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport June 28 has. Russia claims Akhmed Chatayev is not a Russian but a Georgian citizen. Georgia, on the other hand,

NGO news

Contest for journalists ‘Leaders of Participation’

by | Jul 3
one

The Other Space Foundation and DF Watch invite journalists to participate in the contest ‘Leaders of Participation’ for the best journalistic work about participatory budgeting in the context of participatory democracy in Georgia.

News

Two flights diverted from Tbilisi airport as city braces for more extreme weather

by | Jul 2
Tbilisi_airport_planes

TBILISI, DFWatch--A thunderstorm led to two planes being diverted from Tbilisi airport on Friday. One year ago, extreme flooding caused massive damage. DFWatch spoke to one of the passengers of a flight that should have landed in Tbilisi but was diverted

News

Georgians may get visa-free travel to Europe by late September: Steinmeier

by | Jul 2
frank-walter_steinmeier_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union will begin offering visa-free short-term travel to Georgians in the end of September, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday during a visit to Tbilisi. Steinmeier said on Friday that the visa-free rules

Roads update

Road connecting Russia and Georgia will be closed for another two weeks

by | Jul 1
IPN_riger_tergi_landslide_23june_2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road through Dariali Valley in northern Georgia will be open for traffic in about two weeks, Infrastructure Minister Nodar Javakhishvili said on Thursday. For the moment, the road connecting Russia and Georgia is cut off due to a landslide

News

Kerry to visit Tbilisi on July 6

by | Jul 1
john_kerry_-_official_portrait

TBILISI, DFWatch--U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will come to Georgia and have talks with leaders and opposition, before heading for a NATO summit in Warsaw which begins July 8. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced Kerry’s visit on Thursday during a dinner

News

Was Istanbul airport attack organized by militant with links to Georgia?

by | Jun 30
axmed chataevis 2012-12-06

TBILISI, DFWatch--The terrorist attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on 28 June, which claimed the lives of 44 victims and three suicide bombers and left 239 people wounded, is believed to have been organized by Akhmed Chatayev, a Russian national

Politics

Opinion polls differ wildly 3 months ahead of Georgian election

by | Jun 30
ballot_box-155x130

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two opinion polls show vastly different levels of support for the two main contenders in Georgia’s parliamentary election, scheduled for October 8. A poll conducted by Georgian Dream gives the party a lead of 35 percent, with the United National

News

Another Georgian Islamist militant killed in Syria

by | Jun 30
Omar_Margoshvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 39-year-old man from Pankisi Valley in northeastern Georgia has reportedly been killed fighting on for the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria. The death of Omar Margoshvili, reported by Information Centre of Kakheti on Wednesday,

News

22-year-old Georgian Islamist militant killed in Syria

by | Jun 29
aslanbeg

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 22-year-old Georgian man is reported to have died in the Syrian war, fighting alongside one of the Islamist rebel groups. Information Centre of Kakheti (ICK) wrote on Tuesday that Aslanbeg Borchashvili was from Dumasturi, a village in Pankisi Valley

News

Georgian parliament gives amnesty to 116 elderly prisoners

by | Jun 28
Prison_No_8_Gldani

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on June 24 passed an amnesty bill which will release female prisoners older than 65 and male prisoners over 70, if they are convicted of lesser crimes. The bill was proposed by the National Forum faction in parliament

Politics

Georgian Dream slams minister’s decision to end conscription

by | Jun 28
tina_khidasheli

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli’s decision on Monday to end compulsory military service sparked a variety of negative comments from members of the ruling party, Georgian Dream. Khidasheli is a member of the Republican Party,

Security

Georgian defense minister signs decree that ends compulsory military service

by | Jun 28
tina_khidasheli

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli on Monday controversially signed a decree ending compulsory military service with immediate effect. In April, Khidasheli said she expected the professional army system to be introduced in 2017.

Environment

Early evacuation averted tragedy as new landslide hit Georgia-Russia border

by | Jun 27
Geotest_landslide_monitoring_Devdoraki

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia airlifted 60 people to the border crossing at Larsi on Sunday. The travellers had been stuck in Kazbegi since Thursday night, when a mudslide cut off a section of road in Dariali Valley. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said around 60 people

Media

Employees of Imedi TV call news chief’s replacement ‘unacceptable’

by | Jun 26
nana_lejava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the news division at Imedi TV was unexpectedly replaced on Thursday. News chief Maia Tabagari was moved to a post as consultant to the general director, while journalist Nino Lezhava (pictured) was brought in as her replacement,

News

MIA: Suspect in Khurcha murder could become ‘liquidated’

by | Jun 24
enguri

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian minister of internal affairs, Giorgi Mghebrishvili has claimed he has information that the suspect in the Khurcha killing could become ‘liquidated’ in a plot to discredit Georgia. “Abkhazia’s de facto Prosecutor’s Office appealed

News

Georgian parliament rejects sexual harassment bill

by | Jun 24
parliament_vote

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Thursday rejected a proposal to criminalize sexual harassment in the work place and in public places. During the last year, about 50 complaints about sexual harassment have been filed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and two with the Ombudsman’s Office.

News

Ivanishvili fund manager accused of putting money in personal accounts

by | Jun 23
Bidzina

By Occrp Bloomberg News is reporting that Patrice Lescaudron, a Credit Suisse Bank money manager who former Georgia Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili blames for the loss of over $US500 million, has confessed that he transferred $US3.5 million of client money to his wife’s bank account in Monaco and to the account of a company he controlled in Dubai.

News

Georgia’s top prosecutor concludes Kitsmarishvili committed suicide

by | Jun 23
erosi_kitsmarishvili.jpg

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia said Wednesday it had solved the case about the politician and founder of the television station Rustavi 2 who was found dead in his car with a gunshot wound to his head in 2014.

News

Ministry of IDPs employee detained for corruption

by | Jun 22
police_line

TBILISI, DFWatch--An employee of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees was detained by the State Security Service (SUS) under the charge of bribery. According

News

Suspect on the run in attempted femicide case

by | Jun 22
(IPN)

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Khelvachauri District Court issued a warrant for a suspect wanted in the case of an attempted femicide which happened on June 10. According to the General Prosecutor’s Office,

News

Mayor Narmania: Tbilisi sidewalks may be free of parked cars from September

by | Jun 20
car_parking_sidewalk_tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--City authorities in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi are considering removing parking spaces that were allocated on the city’s sidewalks a few years ago. Pedestrians may look forward to having the sidewalks cleared of cars already from September.

News

Ivanishvili Says Money Managers Cost Him $500 Million

by | Jun 20
bidzina1

By Dave Bloss and Nino Bakradze OCCRP Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is now claiming he lost more than $US500 million due to mismanagement by Credit Suisse Bank and by directors of an offshore asset fund he controlled.

News

Georgia protests against planned Abkhaz Cultural Institute in Italy

by | Jun 17
exhibit

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's ambassador to Italy, Kakha Sikharulidze, says the Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia will not be allowed to open a cultural institute in Rome. The planned Abkhaz Cultural Institute in Rome is an initiative by the de facto Ministry of Foreign Affairs

News

Merkel: Suspension mechanism before visa liberalization

by | Jun 17
Merkel

‘Visa liberalisation for Georgia is not a distant matter,’ the German chancellor Angela Merkel stated during a joint conference with the Georgian prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in Berlin on 15 June.

News

‘Saakashvili ordered beating of MP who criticized him to set an example’

by | Jun 16
Irakli_Okruashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili on Tuesday testified that ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the beating of a parliament member to make an example of what would happen to others if they dared openly criticize him.

Economy

UAE signs USD 32 million contract with Georgia’s Delta

by | Jun 14
lazika_combat_vehicle

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United Arab Emirates has signed a contract to buy military equipment worth USD 32 million from the Georgian state-owned company Delta. Delta’s former director Ucha Dzodzuashvili said the first batch of equipment

Economy

Georgian businessman to open McDonald’s in Armenia

by | Jun 13
rustavi-mcdonalds-Temur_Chkonia

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian businessman may open the first ever McDonald’s restaurant in rival Armenia, Sputnik Armenia reports. The news agency reports that the opening of the first of the chain’s restaurants in Armenia was decided at a meeting

In brief

Angela Merkel to visit Georgia ‘in the near future’

by | Jun 13
reiner_haseloff_official_photo_Sachsen_Anhalt2

TBILISI, DFWatch--German Chancellor Angela Merkel might visit Georgia this summer, Interpressnews reports. The news agency is quoting Reiner Haseloff, the minister president of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, as he met Georgian media

News

Georgia’s CEC greenlights another referendum bid about marriage

by | Jun 13
11_-_May_17_2014_Cropped_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Central Election Commission on Sunday gave preliminary approval for one more referendum about same-sex marriage. This is the second referendum bid about this issue and if approved it will be held in parallel with the parliamentary

News

Two Georgians detained by Russian border patrol in Bershueti

by | Jun 13
razor wire border south ossetia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained on Saturday by officers of the Russian FSB’s border service patrolling the perimeter of the breakaway region South Ossetia. Roin Zautashvili and his son Giorgi were detained for border violation in the village Bershueti

In brief

Still no decision on EU visa waiver

by | Jun 11
visa_passport_2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union once again failed to reach an agreement on abolishing visas for Georgian citizens who want to enter the Schengen area.

Media

Rustavi 2 loses ownership case in Appeals Court, vows to continue fight

by | Jun 10
tamta_muradashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia upheld a decision by Tbilisi City Court to transfer ownership of the largest opposition TV station, Rustavi 2, to Kibar Khalvashi, a former owner. Khalvashi successfully sued claiming that Rustavi 2 was forcibly

Politics

Ivanishvili plans to build new hotel on the border with Abkhazia

by | Jun 10
bidzina_ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has revealed a plan to build a luxury hotel in western Georgia on the border with the breakaway region Abkhazia. He told journalists on Friday that he also has some other plans which he will disclose when they are approved.

Economy

Foreign investments in Georgia in Jan-Mar: up 103% from 2015

by | Jun 10
road_building

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's direct foreign investments in the first quarter of 2016 was 103 percent more than in the same period last year, Georgia's National Statistics Office writes in a preliminary report. Investments in the first quarter amounted to USD 376 million.

News

Germany delays visa waiver plan again, cites Georgian burglar gangs

by | Jun 9
German

TBILISI, DFWatch--Germany on Wednesday again blocked visa-free access to the Schengen area for Georgian citizens, with reference to police reports that Georgian asylum seekers play an important role in organizing burglaries. After the decision became

News

Georgia’s traditionalists form new coalition ahead of election

by | Jun 9
kakha_kukava

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s traditionalists have formed a coalition for the October 8 parliamentary election. The initiative came from the Alliance of Patriot, whose leader Irma Inashvili came close to winning a contested local by-election last year, fraught with accusations

News

Tbilisi’s embattled vegan cafe is searching for a new location

by | Jun 9
vegan kiwi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi’s embattled vegan café Kiwi is looking for a new location after neighbors complained about its environment and guests. One of the employees of the café told DFWatch that the owner two weeks ago barred them from putting tables outside,

News

UN: Georgian IDPs have right to return to Abkhazia and South Ossetia

by | Jun 8
IDPs

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the ninth consecutive year, the United Nations General Assembly on June 7 passed a resolution calling for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the wars in Georgia in the early 1990s. The first resolution

In brief

Chair of EU parliament supports visa liberalization for Georgia

by | Jun 8
martin_schulz

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, on Wednesday used his Twitter account to voice support for Georgia getting visa-free travel with the Schengen area without delay. Mr Schulz’s statement comes shortly after EU states decided to delay

News

Georgia’s score declines in Global Peace Index

by | Jun 8
Peace index cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is ranked 85th among 163 of the world’s countries in the latest Global Peace Index published by the think tank Institute for Economics and Peace. Seven more European countries scored lower than Georgia, including all of Georgia’s

News

Activists launch #visafree Twitter campaign for Georgia and Ukraine

by | Jun 8
Visa

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of activists rallied in Brussels on Saturday in support of Georgian and Ukrainian citizens being allowed to travel visa-free to the Schengen area. The rally came days after the European Union put the visa waiver program

News

GD’s electoral campaign in full swing as Ivanishvili praises PM

by | Jun 7
Bidzo techno cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former prime minister and businessman, Bidzina Ivanishvili discovered ‘a person of his dreams from the time of his youth’ in Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, he said during a press conference at TechPark on Tuesday.

News

Femicide bill rejected by Georgian parliament’s human rights committee

by | Jun 7
no_to_violence_against_women04

TBILISI, DFWatch--The human rights committee in parliament on Monday rejected a proposal by two MPs from the majority faction to make femicide a crime. It would have taken seven votes for the committee to approve the draft. Only three voted for it;

In brief

Suspect in femicide case detained by police

by | Jun 7
police_car

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Tbilisi arrested a man on Tuesday who is accused of murdering his wife the day before. The 36 year old man is charged with premeditated murder. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs,

In brief

Woman hotel worker murdered in Tbilisi

by | Jun 7
police_car

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman was shot outside a hotel in Isani on the outskirts of Tbilisi on Monday. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries but later died at the hospital. The woman was working in the kitchen

Minorities

Georgians support gay rights, but want rallies banned

by | Jun 6
Invisible Protest for May 17, 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia (DFWatch)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Over half of Georgians think the state should protect the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and other sexual minorities, but four out of five want it to be illegal to demonstrate for LGBTI rights, according to a new survey by Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG).

News

Ivanishvili invites 10 TV channels to his residence for a joint interview

by | Jun 6
Bidzina Ivanishvili

Tbilisi, DFWatch - After negotiations between former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili and two opposition TV channels fails, the billionaire and Georgian strongman issues a statement inviting 10 major TV channel to a press conference. The conference is scheduled on Tuesday at Ivanishvili Sololaki residence at noon.

News

Civic groups brace to appeal Constitutional Court bill

by | Jun 6
Meeting of civil society organizations to discuss Constitutional Court Bill. June 3. Tbilisi (Facebook)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Civil society organizations brace for appealing revised constitutional court bill, and express their discontent with the final version of the bill that includes the president’s objections. President Giorgi Margvelashvili vetoed a bill on Constitutional Court on May 31,

News

Tbilisi hard rock festival disrupted after outrage by clergy

by | Jun 5
jam fest

Tbilisi, DFWatch - International Rock Festival was disrupted on Saturday on the Tbilisi outskirts after a power blackout that, the organizers believe, was probably arranged by the clergy.

News

Ukrainian journalist died climbing Mkinvartsveri

by | Jun 4
guzenkp

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Ukrainian journalist, Pavlo Syvokon, 32, died in the Caucasus mountains near the townlet of Stepantsminda while climbing Mount Kazbeg, or Mkinvartsveri in Georgian (5,047  m ). According to the other climbers,

News

EU puts visa waiver on hold. “We don’t want to stop the whole process”

by | Jun 4
visa_passport_2

Tbilisi, DFWatch - On Wednesday, European Union once again failed to agree on waiving visas for Georgian citizens within the Schengen zone, Reuters reported. Last minute objection from Germany,

News

Minister of education and science replaced, still remains in ‘the team’

by | Jun 3
kvirik education

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili Friday announced resignation of the Minister of Education and Science, Tamar Sanikidze, and introduced a new candidate to the post, Aleksandre Jejelava, the Chairman of Management Academy.

News

Ivanishvili and Burchuladze accuse each other of lying

by | Jun 3
paata_burchuladze

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and famous Georgian operatic bass, Paata Burchuladze exchanged mutual accusations of lying. “I would advice Paata Burchuladze not to lie,”

In brief

Hundreds gather in Tbilisi against ‘inhumane drug policy’ of the state

by | Jun 3
m

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Hundreds of people, mostly youth, gathered at the government building in Tbilisi Thursday evening to protest ‘inhumane drug policy’ and demand decriminalization of the light drugs and to soften the drug legislation in general. The annual protest bringing together youth, politicians, journalists, NGO activists is held every June 2, since 2013. The main message of the rally was as usual to stop arresting people for using light drugs, i.e. marijuana. Number of Georgian singers and bands performed for the people, who gathered to express their anger against the state's harsh drug policies. They demand to eliminate criminal responsibility for using drugs, as well as for purchasing and storing  small amounts for personal consumption, and to abolish a 'shameful practice' of stopping people on the streets for compulsory drug testing.  

Brief

Prosecution requests bail for Kortskheli violence suspects

by | Jun 2
Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotatdze

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Prosecution wouldn’t request pre-trial detention for the athletes involved in Kortskheli violence, Irakli Shotadze, Chief Prosecutor, said to journalists on Thursday. Instead, the Prosecutor’s Office would request a bail for six martial artists, charged with beating of opposition politicians and their supporters in Kortskeli, a village in Samegrelo, during by-elections in May. “Likely, the Prosecution will send a formal request for a bail today,” Shotadze said, adding that the suspects were charged with a criminal offense under Article 239 of the Criminal Code, which means hooliganism. Five athletes have been charged with the first paragraph of Article 239, which means group hooliganism and is punished by fine, or compulsory community service for 180-200 hours, or to imprisonment up to 5 years. The sixth person, Vladimer Gegeshidze, a member of Georgia’s Greco-Roman wrestling team, was charged with par. 3 of the same article that means prison term from 4 to 7 years.

News

Six athletes charged with beating high profile opposition figures

by | Jun 2
Nika Melia (center) and Tengiz Gunava, MP, in Kirtskheli after the incident. (20300

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs on Wednesday indicted six athletes for a violent incident about a week ago in Samegrelo, when several high profile opposition figures, including members of parliament, were severely beaten during the local municipal by-elections. In a short statement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said that six persons are charged with hooliganism. All of them acting or former athletes in martial arts. Five face fines or other lesser punishment, while Vladimer Gegeshidze, a member of the Georgian Greco-Roman wrestling team, faces up to seven years in jail. No-one has been arrested so far. At the polling station in Kortskheli, a village near Zugdidi, a group of ruling Georgian Dream supporters assaulted members of the United National Movement . Former Tbilisi mayoral candidate Nika Melia and the party’s Foreign Relations Secretary, Giga Bokeria where brutally beaten, along with several other UNM parliamentarians, activists and supporters. A local TV channel, Odishi TV, published a video of the assault.

News

Tbilisi Zoo receives kangaroos and other new animal species

by | Jun 1
guriela

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Zoo received 22 new animals on Monday. The animals were a gift from zoos in Germany and Belgium. There are seven South American coatis, two Indian porcupines and ten striped mongoose from Germany, while three blue wildebeest

News

14.9% increase in visitors to Georgia in May 2016

by | Jun 1
tourism cropped

Tbilisi, DFWatch - 14.9 percent more people visited Georgia in May, compared to the same period last year, Georgian National Tourism Administration states in its monthly report released on Wednesday.

In brief

Parliament won’t override president’s veto

by | Jun 1
parliament_vote

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ruling Georgian Dream coalition will not initiate motion to overturn presidential veto on the recently adopted law that significantly restricts power of Constitutional Court, Zviad Dzidziguri, Vice Speaker of the parliament, said on Wednesday.

News

Appeals Court postpones Rustavi 2 hearing, CEO expects the worst scenario

by | May 31
rustavi 2

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Appeals court on Tuesday postponed hearing of Rustavi 2 case for Friday, June 3, and its CEO fears the same day the court will issue its decision in favor of the former owner, who, they believe, will strip the Georgia's main opposition channel its independence.

News

Abkhazia hosts football ‘championship’ for ‘unrecognised’

by | May 30
Abkhazia

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Teams from twelve stateless peoples and regions without international recognition will compete in a football championship in Abkhazia’s capital of Sukhumi, while ordinary Abkhazians express polarised opinions about the event.

News

Ivanishvili accuses Int. organizations’ ‘certain representatives’ of being ‘deeply engaged’ in UNM ‘lie machine’

by | May 30
bidzina_ivanishvili_

Tbilisi, DFWatch - ‘Certain representatives’ of the international organizations were ‘so deeply engaged in the lie machine’ of the previous government that assessment of the ongoing events in Georgia used to be written by the leaders of the United National Movement, rather than by foreign experts, asserts former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili in his lengthy open letter published on Monday by 2030, a news agency affiliated with him.

Environment

Crops wiped out by hail in Shida Kartli, anti-hail rockets ineffective

by | May 30
anti-hail-system

TBILISI, DFWatch--Crops were destroyed by a hailstorm in several municipalities of Georgia’s Shida Kartli province on May 26. In the hardest hit village Ebnisi the harvest was almost completely devastated. The local municipality is now estimating the cost of the damage.

News

Georgian journalist died in an accident in Mtiuleti Mountains

by | May 29
73362644

Tbilisi, DFwatch - Zviad Tkhelidze, reporter at news program 2030 at the GDS TV, died as result of a tragic accident during his journalistic assignment on Saturday.

In brief

Operatic bass holds a party rally, vows to come to power

by | May 29
Paata Burchuladze during Independence Day celebrations, May 26. (Facebook.)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The newly former political party led by Paata Burchuladze, famous operatic bass, held a rally at Tbilisi central sports arena on Saturday

Society

Unemployment declined by slight 0.4%: Geostat

by | May 27
railway_workers_on_strike_IPN

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Annual unemployment rate in Georgia declined by 0.4 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to the new report published by The National Statistics Office of Georgia (GeoStat).

In brief

18 yo arrested for possible homophobic assault, stabbing

by | May 27
telavi_police_shooting

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Police arrested an 18-year-old man, who allegedly stabbed two men, one minor, on possibly homophobic grounds.

News

South Ossetia postpones referendum on joining Russia

by | May 27
south_ossetia_border_sign_warning_Crop

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The de facto leadership of South Ossetia issued a statement saying that the referendum on joining Russia would be conducted in 2017, instead of, as previously planned, in August this year at latest.

News

Appeal Court upholds ‘not guilty’ verdict in transphobic murder case

by | May 27
sabi

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Tbilisi Appeal Court announced yesterday that it upheld the verdict of the Tbilisi City Court, which ruled in August 2015 that Levan Kochlashvili wasn’t guilty of the murder of the transgender woman, Sabi Beriani.

News

Georgia marked Independence Day [photo]

by | May 27
Independence

As a tradition, an oath taking ceremony was held on Freedom Square, however for the first time it was also held in other places - in Kakheti, Samegrelo, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Imereti and Adjara. Totally 432 recruits all over Georgia took an oath.

News

Saakashvili squabbled with SBU searching office of his advisor in Odessa [video]

by | May 26
misha

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Investigators of Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine and masked and armed members of Security Service (SBU) conducted searches in the office and premises of Odessa Regional Governor, Mikheil Saakashvili’s adviser on Thursday.

News

UNM may boycott parliament sittings until Oct. 8 elections

by | May 25
national_movement_office

Tbilisi, DFWatch - United National Movement has announced its decision to suspend its activities in the parliament until all involved in violent incident in Kortskheli were punished.

News

New confrontation of TSU students amidst accusation of violence

by | May 25
Protest auditorium

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The student movement Auditorium 115, which was set up in the beginning of March during the sit-in protests at the Tbilisi State University (TSU), informed on Tuesday evening that members of the student union tvitmmartveloba­ attacked one of its members. However, tvitmmartveloba claims it was a provocation.

News

Saakashvili announces his return to Georgia before the elections

by | May 25
saakashvili

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The former president of Georgia and the current governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, Mikheil Saakashvili declared in an interview for Rustavi 2 that he’d return to Georgia and engage in the campaign before the parliamentary elections in October.

News

Joint Georgian-US-UK military excersises concluded in Tbilisi

by | May 25
Noble Partner

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Joint Georgian-American-UK military exercise Noble Partner 2016  was finalized on Tuesday with tanks firing and helicopters simulating battlefield rescue of the wounded soldiers in Vaziani field, near Tbilisi.

News

Still no suspects in Kortskheli incident

by | May 24
Nika Melia (center) and Tengiz Gunava, MP, in Kirtskheli after the incident. (20300

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Ministry of Internal Affairs investigates the violent incident in Kortskheli, Samegrelo under the 125th article of Criminal Law Code. So far, no-one has been arrested in connection to the case.

News

Ivanishvili: UNM devastated science, new government tries to restore its dignity

by | May 24
Bidzina

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A foundation was laid on Monday to the construction of a technologic institute, which the government vows, will be ‘the fifth largest in the world after the same kind of facilities in Italy, Switzerland, Japan, and Austria’.

News

Georgian Dream wins seven, UNM two seats in by-elections

by | May 23
cesko

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Electoral Commission (CESKO) announced the preliminary results of the by-elections to Sakrebulos (‘municipal assemblies’), which were held on 22 May in nine majoritarian electoral districts.

Caucasus region

Azeri activist tortured, humiliated for drawign graffiti on Haydar Alyev’s statue

by | May 23
Graffiti

Tbilisi, DFWatch - On evening of May 10 two activists disappeared in Baku, Meydan TV reported. Then on May 12, the Khatai District Court placed Bayram Mammadov and Qiyas Ibrahimov under a four-month arrest for drug-related charges.

News

Georgia to seek international criminal prosecution for suspect in Khurcha incident

by | May 22
adjara_prosecutor_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a statement released on Saturday, Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia laid out its version of the tragic event of May 19, and announced it would appeal to the court demanding detention in absentia of Rashid Kanciogli, identified as a person who allegedly

News

[Updated] Bokeria, Melia, other UNM members attacked, beaten in Samegrelo

by | May 22
Nika Melia (center) and Tengiz Gunava, MP, in Kirtskheli after the incident. (20300

Tblisi, DFWatch- Members of the opposition United National Movement, including several high profile figures at the party, were brutally beaten in Samegrelo on Sunday. The scuffle broke out in Kortskheli, a village near Zugdidi, administrative center of Samegrelo-Zemo

News

Anti-NATO, anti-gay MP left Georgian Dream

by | May 21
Tamaz_Mechiauri

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Tamaz Mechiauri, outspoken member of the Georgian Dream, prominent for his anti-NATO and anti-gay statements, left the ruling party, yet retains a post of the chair of parliament’s finance and budget committee until next elections in the fall, 2016.

News

Georgian IDP killed by Abkhaz guards at checkpoint

by | May 21
Russian-Abkhazian checkpoint between Khurcha and Nabakevi. (Sputnik)

An ethnic Georgian man was fatally wounded by an Abkhaz border officer in an incident that occurred at the Khurcha-Nabakevi checkpoint at the de facto border with Abkhazia, inside the territory under control of Georgian authorities. The video (+18) from a surveillance camera distributed by Rustavi 2 shows how four men in uniforms assault on a young man in civilian clothes. One of them punches and then kicks the man, while other approaches him apparently with a pistol and shoot at him point-blank. The wounded man, identified as Giga Otkhozoria, 30, died on his way to the hospital in Zugdidi. He was native of Abkhazia's Gali district. Aleksi Chikvaidze, the representative of the de jure Abkhazian government in Samegrelo–Zemo Svaneti, told DF Watch that Giga Otkhozoria lived in an IDP settlement in Zugdidi. At the time of the incident, he was escorting a relative to the village of Nabakevi, which is located on the territory controlled by the de facto Abkhazian authorities. The body of Mr Otkhozoria was transferred from the Zugdidi Hospital to Kutaisi for an autopsy. A relative of Mr ...

News

Poti police chief accused of sexually abusing a detective, fired

by | May 20
mia_shark

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The head of the Poti Police was dismissed for alleged of sexual abuse case on Wednesday. The alleged victim is a female police detective whose identity hasn't been disclosed.

Caucasus region, News

Six Russian soldiers die, 16 injured in South Ossetia

by | May 19
1931054

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Six Russian military personnel were killed and further sixteen suffered injuries in a bus accident in South Ossetia, Sputnik Ossetia reported. The accident happened today near the village of Kanchaeti on the

News, Society

WHO: Georgia at high risk of Zika virus outbreak

by | May 19
WHO

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s Black Sea coast is among the European regions which are at the highest risk of a Zika virus outbreak during late spring and summer, a statement made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) reads.

Minorities

Stairs painted in rainbow colors in western Georgia, then cleaned by municipality

by | May 18
rainbowww

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Stairs of a theatre in Ozurgeti, administrative center of Guria, Western Georgia, was painted in rainbow colors on May 17, International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), Guria news reported.

Environment

Environmentalists call Tbilisi mayor ‘enemy of the city’, interrupt speech

by | May 18
tbilisi_city_council_panorama_narmania

TBILISI, DFWatch--Environmental activists interrupted a speech by Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania on Tuesday during a session of the City Council, accusing him of being an ‘enemy of the city’. The activists protested the recent selling off of a part of the city’s botanical garden,

Minorities, Society

17 May marked with rallies, guerrilla tactics, arrests, and prayers [updated]

by | May 17
IMG_5552

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) marked internationally on 17 May once again sheds light on existing tensions between the LGBTQI community, the authorities, and the Church. Activists arrested for vandalism Levan Berianidze, the executive director of LGBT Georgia posted information around 5 a.m. saying that a group of activists were detained for making stencils by the police. ‘As I have been informed the police was violent and brutal — activists were physically attacked, dragged along on ground and the police vocabulary was extremely aggressive!’ Mr Berianidze wrote. Ten activists were detained. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, seven of them were detained by undercover police for attempting to apply a stencil saying ‘All love is equal’ on the wall belonging to the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Three activists who were detained for painting a zebra crossing in rainbow colours were already released. The other seven are awaiting trial. Stencils, which were in rainbow colours, have been covered by the paint soon after the activists were detained. A small group of feminist and LGBTQI activists rallied in front of ...

Minorities, Society

Ombudsman call on public agencies ‘to do their best’ to prevent hate-motivated violence

by | May 17
Ucha Nanuashvili (Ombudsman.ge)

The Public Defender of Georgia released a statement on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17, in which he deplores that “no effective measures have been taken for raising public awareness or establishing the culture of tolerance in the country.” “A timely, efficient and accountable investigation of hate crimes is still a problem. Three years have passed, however, nobody has been held responsible for the criminal acts committed on 17 May, 2013,” the statement reads. Ucha Nanuashvili, the Public Defender, states his pity to the fact that LGBTI rights activists have no opportunity to celebrate IDAHOT in the open air “due to lack of safeguards to be protected from possible threats of violence, they refrain from a public appearance. It is worrying that homophobic attitudes in the society threaten realization of a constitutional right.” “Given all the above, I call on the public agencies to do their best to prevent hate-motivated violence and manifestation of homophobic actions, as well as to promote unconditional implementation of constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms of LGBT persons. “Public Defender’s authorized representatives will be observing developments in ...

News

Fewer underage marriages registered in Georgia

by | May 16
early_marriage_01

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were 611 cases of marriage involving a minor last year, compared to 665 in 2014, according to the latest figures from the Ombudsman’s Office. 95 percent of the minors were girls. The report says that there were 408 pupils in Georgia

News

Alasania planning rally against ‘authorities obedient to the informal governance’

by | May 16
irakli alasania - candidate for defense minister

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Free Democrats of former Defense minister Irakli Alasania announce a rally on Saturday to protest ruling of the Tbilisi City Court by which 5 officials have been sentenced to 7 years in prison each. Free Democrats will switch to ‘emergency mode’

News

5 Defense Ministry officials sentenced to 7 years in prison

by | May 16
tbilisi_city_court

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Five Defense Ministry officials who were detained in 2014 on embezzlement charges and released on the basis of personal guarantees from several MPs, have been sentenced to 7 years in prison each by Tbilisi City Court on Monday.

News, Society

Georgian feminists rally against the conservative Christian conference

by | May 16
'

A small group of Georgian feminist activists organised a protest in front of Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Tbilisi, where the World Congress of Families (WFC) was taking place on Sunday.

News

Conservative Christians from different continents meet in Tbilisi

by | May 16
levan vasdadze

The 10th edition of the World Congress of Families (WCF) opened in Tbilisi yesterday, bringing together conservative Christian activists from four continents.

Politics

Georgia’s PM has selected replacement for Republican ministers

by | May 16
giorgi_kvirikashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who was elected as a leader of Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party on Saturday, told Imedi TV that he has candidates to replace ministers from the Republican Party in case they resign. A few weeks ago,

News

Georgia plans exhibitions, oath-taking ceremonies on May 26

by | May 15
independence_day_tanks_children

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia will mark Independence Day on May 26 in most of the cities and towns all over the country by organizing different events.

In brief

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in January-April up 8%

by | May 13
deserters_market

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first four months of 2016 was USD 3,287 million. This is 8 percent more than in the same period last year.

In brief

9 Georgian jonjoli-pickers detained by Russian troops

by | May 13
jonjoli_bladderwort_Crop

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Jonjoli picking season began in Georgia, which means more Georgians will face detentions for crossing the “border” with breakaway South Ossetia, as on Friday Russian caught 9 inhabitants of Sachkhere district.

In brief

One man arrested for bribing official and stealing manganese slag

by | May 12
illegal_mining_zestaponi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Security Service on Thursday arrested a Georgian citizen for bribery and stealing silicon manganese slag. The Anti-Corruption Agency and the State Security Department of the State Security Service conducted a joint

News

Harassment audio file is authentic, Imedi TV actress to sue former boss

by | May 12
barnova

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Forensic Bureau has confirmed the authenticity of an audio file which appears to show that a well-known Georgian journalist threatened to ruin the career of an actress working for him if she did not sleep with him. Tatia Samkharadze

Minorities

Georgia has become a more dangerous place for gays: Rights group

by | May 12
ILGA_2016_ranking_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The human rights of gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities are being less protected in Georgia, according to the organization ILGA, which monitors the situation internationally. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex

News

Israel investigates a corruption case with former Georgian minister of defence

by | May 12
kezera cropped

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Gal Hirsch, an Israeli suspect in bribing the former minister of defence, Davit Kezerashvili, was questioned under caution by the Israeli Police’s fraud squad, Haaretz reported. Mr Hirsch was a brigadier general at the Israeli

News

Enormous wages/bonuses at Georgia’s CEC: Report

by | May 11
repeat elections 2012-10-14

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The head and other senior staff members of the Central Election Commission of Georgia have been accustomed to get enormous bonuses, according to the recent report by ISFED, a Georgian NGO focused on monitoring electoral processes in Georgia.

In brief

Georgia’s wine exports up 15% in January-April

by | May 11
Wine

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia exported 45 percent more bottles (0.75 L) of wine in the first four months of 2016, compared to the same period last year. Increase in revenues in the same period is 15 percent.

News

Stalin bust erected in Gori, then paint-bombed and dismantled

by | May 11
Stalin

TBILISI, DFWatch--A bust of Stalin was paint-bombed pink and later dismantled in the village Ateni in Gori, the hometown of Joseph Stalin, on Monday. The bust of Stalin was erected for the 71th anniversary of victory over fascism, on May 9. It was dismantled

In brief

Avalanche kills a shepherd in northeast of Georgia

by | May 10
bakhmaro_avalanche_Jan-2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 27 year old man was killed by an avalanche on Tuesday in Tusheti, in the northeast of Georgia. A 44 year old man was also injured and taken to the hospital in Telavi, in the Kakheti province. The victim was from the village Kistauri, near Akhmeta.

Politics

Fmr Saakashvili official who brought simpler services launches new party

by | May 10
Giorgi Vashadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian politician who was deputy justice minister during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency has left the National Movement and plans to start a new party. Giorgi Vashadze is perhaps best known for having overseen the reform known as

Youth

Auditorium 115 to ask court’s help to break student union’s ‘monopoly’

by | May 10
student_protest_speaker_tuesday

TBILISI, DFWatch--The student movement Auditorium 115 plans to file a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court demanding to amend several regulations in the law about higher education. Members of the organization which was created during protests

News

In pictures: Georgia marks Victory Day

by | May 9
may 0

TBILISI, DFWatch--On May 9, Georgia marked the 71st anniversary of Victory Day, the day Nazi Germany surrendered to the Soviet Union. As usual, there were events all over Georgia. World War II veterans came to the memorial in Tbilisi’s Vake Park, where

News

No-one has been charged in Georgian sex tape scandal

by | May 9
Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotatdze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s top prosecutor says no-one is charged in the case of four compromising sex videos of politicians which were posted on the Internet. Speaking at a conference about juvenile justice reform on Friday, Chief Prosecutor

News

Alasania issues ultimatum, vows to fight Ivanishvili’s informal power

by | May 8
Turkish

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania, the former defense minister who was fired after some of his staff were detained for embezzlement, Friday issued an ultimatum: If the court finds the detainees guilty, he will mobilize people and launch protest rallies

News

Environmentalists, opposition plan rally on Ivanishvili-owned land

by | May 7
SOS_Panorama

TBILISI, DFWatch--24 non-governmental organizations and several opposition parties plan a rally against former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili on May 7. The venue is near the office of GDS TV, on Kojori road on the southern

News

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen listed among speakers to Tbilisi conference

by | May 6
Turkish

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The French right wing politician has been tentatively announced as a speaker at the conference which will bring together conservative activists from four different continents to Tbilisi. The French right-wing MP, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen,

News

Strong hail damages crops in Shida Kartli and Kakheti

by | May 6
hail stones in eastern Georgia 2013-04-10

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Strong hail affected parts of Kakheti and Shida Kartli yesterday, destroying early crops in a number of villages. Villages in Gurjaani and Kvareli regions of Kakheti suffered most,

News

Two former officials charged with extorting business shares

by | May 6
prosecutors_office_Crop

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia Thursday charged two former officials with torture and property appropriation of a businessman, who was murdered later.

News

Georgia must have small, professional, flexible army: Khidasheli

by | May 6
tina_khidasheli

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The number of troops is not important, what’s crucial is to have a professional army, as Georgia will never be able to win any war by the number of soldiers, Minister of Defense Tina Khidasheli said in a talk show 2030 at GDS pro-governmental TV channel Wednesday evening.

News

Activists call for banning Russian TV channels in Georgia

by | May 5
rentt

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Representatives of ten NGOs and one media outlet issued a statement in which they urged the government to ban twelve Russian TV channels in Georgia. The activists, roughly half of them former officials

News

US Abrams tanks arrived in Georgia

by | May 5
tamks cropped

Tbilisi, DFWatch - American tanks and armored vehicles arrived for joint American–British–Georgian military exercises to be held between 11–25 May. American heavy military equipment arrived to Georgia for a joint

News

Patriarch gives blessing to World Congress of Families

by | May 5
families

TBILISI, DFWatch--Patriarch Ilia II has endorsed a controversial ‘pro family’ congress to be held in Tbilisi in May and is expected to deliver a keynote speech. The leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II gave his blessing to the 10th World Congress of Families which will be held in Tbilisi on May 15-18,

Minorities

Ethnic and religious minorities affected by population decline: Census

by | May 4
Orta_Jame_mosque_Batumi_2014-04-25

TBILISI, DFWatch--The 2014 census sheds light on issues related to ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities in Georgia. The size of all ethnic minorities fell drastically. While Georgia has lost 15% (658 thousand) of its population since the 2002 census, the number

Politics

Georgian parliament to discuss constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

by | May 4
11_-_May_17_2014_Cropped_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Public discussion about amending the constitution to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman are over and parliament will start discussing the bill next week. The amendment will determine marriage as a voluntary

News

MPs propose making femicide a separate crime

by | May 4
tamar_khidasheli

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two MPs from the parliamentary majority have proposed adding to the Criminal Code a separate offense called femicide, which is the premeditated murder of a woman on the basis of her gender. The bill sets punishment

News

National Movement accused of hindering visa liberalization

by | May 4
levan_berdzenishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--MPs from the parliamentary majority in Georgia accuse members of the National Movement of hindering the process of achieving visa-free travel with the Schengen area. Georgian Dream members claim that two MPs from the former

News

Angry neighbors claim 65 year old man wanted to rape 11 year old girl

by | May 4
crowd_house_rape_suspect

TBILISI, DFWatch--Over a hundred people in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea coast, have surrounded the house of a 65 year old man who they claimed wanted to rape an 11 year old girl. People gathered outside the house and attempted to break in. They demand

In brief

20 sheep killed in Dedoplistskaro as police car plows into flock

by | May 4
ozurgeti_police_car

TBILISI, DFWatch--20 sheep were killed when a police car plowed into their flock near Dedoplistskaro in eastern Georgia a few days ago. Information Center of Kakheti reported that the incident happened on Sunday on the central highway in the village Gamarjveba,

Minorities

Three cases of homophobic violence reported last month

by | May 3
jemal_beridze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian media reported about three cases of homophobic violence which took place last month in Tbilisi. The Facebook user, Jemal Beridze wrote on 23 April that he was assaulted by three unknown attackers for wearing an earring.

News

61 more villages abandoned in Georgia in 12 years: Census

by | May 3
census

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are 223 deserted villages in Georgia, according to the census conducted in 2014 and published last week by the  National Statistics Office (GeoStat). In 2002, when the previous census was conducted,

Society

42 people died in the workplace in Georgia last year

by | May 2
DSC_0372_copy_Chiatura_miners_2014-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--42 people died at work in 2015, while 82 people were injured, the public defender informed on May 1, the International Worker’s Day. According to his statement, in 108 cases, a criminal investigation was launched, but it was halted in 42 of the cases.

News

Georgian soldier dies in Ukraine war

by | May 2
revaz_tsiklauri

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian soldier is reported to have died in the war in Ukraine. Revaz Tsiklauri was reported dead late on Sunday. Tsiklauri died in the town Abievkaa, near Donetsk. A facility he was in was shelled. Tsiklauri was from the village Lapankuri,

News

Five persons arrested in Georgia for trying to sell uranium

by | Apr 30
uranium_kobuleti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were arrested April 26 for attempting to sell radioactive uranium for USD 3 million. Savle Matiashvili, investigator at the counterintelligence service of the State Security Service, said at a briefing on Thursday

News

Quincy Jones, Macy Gray, Prodigy will play at Black Sea Jazz Festival

by | Apr 29
Black_Sea_Jazz_Festival

TBILISI, DFWatch--Quincy Jones, Macy Gray, the Prodigy are some of the artists to visit the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Georgia in July. Director of Eastern Promotion, which organizes the festival, said on a press-conference on Thursday that the festival will be held in

News

Georgian Dream almost caught up by the UNM: IRI polls

by | Apr 29
(IRI)

Georgia’s governing coalition has almost been caught up by the former ruling party, according to the latest poll by International Republican Institute (IRI), published Friday.

News

Population in Georgia shrunk by 15 percent in 12 years: Census

by | Apr 28
census

Tbilisi, DFwatch - Population of Georgia declined by 15 percent from 4.372 million in 2002 to 3.714 million in 2014, according to the data released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) on Thursday.

News

No land transfer between Georgia and Turkey

by | Apr 28
20_full

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The information about the alleged transfer of 15 acres of land from Georgia to Turkey, which went viral on Georgian media, was untrue. Yesterday, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah  published information about the alleged land transfer between Georgia and Turkey.

In brief

Georgian president pardons 95 prisoners in connection with Easter

by | Apr 28
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Wednesday pardoned 95 prisoners in connection with Orthodox Easter. The pardon decree was issued on April 27, and 69 of the pardoned prisoners have already left jail, according to Zviad Koridze,

News

Parliament speaker fears visa-free travel for Georgians may be delayed

by | Apr 28
davit_usupashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU's plans to allow visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia may be postponed, the Georgian speaker of parliament said Monday. Davit Usupashvili blamed members of the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili of lobbying against visa

Media

Freedom House: Georgia regional leader in media freedom

by | Apr 27
13077388_10154113724809817_289500112_n

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia took the 96th place among the world’s 199 countries and regions evaluated in the latest edition of the Freedom of the Press  report prepared annually by Freedom House. Georgia earned the highest score of 49 points

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