Posts by DFWatch staff:

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
shotadze-3_b4418

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

News

Pshavi historical province to get Protected Landscape status

by | Apr 27
Pshavi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pshavi, the historical and cultural province of eastern Georgia, might soon be granted the official status of a Protected Landscape. Pshavi is located in the mountains of Mtskheta–Mtianeti region alongside the Aragvi River, on the way to the historical

Youth

Pro student union rally draws people who don’t know why they’re there

by | Apr 27
pro_student_union_rally

TBILISI, DFWatch--Groups from different universities in Georgia demonstrated in the streets of Tbilisi on Tuesday, mainly demanding education reform, but local media wrote that many of the students didn’t know what the goal of the event was. The

News

National Movement activist claims he was attacked by local officials in Rustavi

by | Apr 27
abuladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--An activist for the National Movement claims that several officials at the Rustavi City Hall, including the deputy mayor, insulted and beat him Monday night. Mamuka Chikovani, head of the UNM’s branch

News

Georgian charged with murdering mother and son arrested in Greece

by | Apr 27
police_line

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The extradition procedures have already been started, but yet it is not known when or whether Greece will extradite the suspect. “I cannot tell you more details,” DFWatch was told at MIA press office. the suspect Giorgi Kuparadze is at the hospital

Youth

Tbilisi students object against Soviet style surveillance methods

by | Apr 26
student_demonstration

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students at Tbilisi State University (TSU) protested on Monday against what they call a ‘police regime’, demanding that law enforcement bodies stop threatening their families and that the so-called ODRs are removed from publicly owned universities.

News

Ramazzotti’s concert in Tbilisi

by | Apr 26
ramazzotti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eros Ramazzotti dedicated his concert in Tbilisi on Sunday to the American singer and songwriter Prince, who died April 21 at the age of 57.

Sport

Georgian team won European judo championship

by | Apr 25
Judo

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Judo Team won the European Judo Championship in Kazan, Russia. In the final competition, the Georgian male judo team won 3:2 against the Russian team. The victories were won by Nugzar Tatalashvili, Avtandil Chrikishvili

Politics

Saakashvili confident his party will return to power in Georgia

by | Apr 25
mikheil_saakashvili_2015-05-31

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and current governor of Odessa, told a Georgian TV channel on Sunday that he is confident of victory for his political party in the parliamentary election in October, and afterward

News

North & East European foreign ministers support visa-free travel for Georgia, Ukraine

by | Apr 25
Northern-EU8

TBILISI, DFWatch--Foreign ministers of Europe’s northern and eastern countries call on EU member states to go ahead with a plan to allow 90 days visa-free visits for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens. On 21–22 April, a meeting of foreign ministers of Baltic,

Caucasus region

The Azerbaijan Crackdown: An Update

by | Apr 25
Cover

by OCCRP Soon, it will have been a year since reporters for OCCRP and other organizations took a long, hard look at what is going on inside Azerbaijan’s prison system. Last June, journalists from the US joined colleagues from the Caucasus region and eastern

News

Abkhazian exhibition in Montenegro shut down on Georgia’s request

by | Apr 25
exhibit

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia filed an official complaint with the authorities of Montenegro, as a result of which Montenegrin police shut down an Abkhazian tourism exposition. The Abkhazian exposition was a part of an international

Society

Georgia’s frozen conflict hampers Easter celebration in border villages

by | Apr 24
bershueti_razor_wire_fence

TBILISI, DFWatch--The frozen conflict over South Ossetia will prevent many people in the border areas from visiting their family graves this Easter. As the observance of Orthodox Easter starts today with Palm Sunday, many will be unable to go to cemeteries

News

US congressman names Ivanishvili ‘illegal arms trader’, calls for freezing his assets

by | Apr 22
Youtube / Rep. Steve Russell

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Republican Steve Russell called for sanctions against representatives of the Georgian government for attempts at rigging the upcoming elections. Steve Russell, 53, representative of Oklahoma, delivered a speech in the United States House of Representatives,

News

Ombudsman asks for thorough investigation of death in detention

by | Apr 22
ucha_nanuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender has asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate a death in preliminary detention. The ombudsman’s statement reads that March 15, a person who was detained a day before died in a detention facility

News

Flying Spaghetti Monster not approved as religion in Georgia

by | Apr 22
house_of_justice_tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Registry in Georgia rejected an application to register the Autocephalous Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster  as a public legal entity. Journalist Lexo Machavarian's April 19 application was rejected for two reasons. First, because

In brief

Eight flights postponed at Tbilisi airport due to strong wind

by | Apr 22
wind_trees

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eight flights were postponed yesterday at Tbilisi airport due to strong wind. All the affected flights were by Turkish Airlines. Interpressnews quoted an airport spokesperson saying that the decision was made by the airline. The delayed flights

News

Abkhazia shelves proposal to allow sale of real estate to foreigners

by | Apr 22
sukhumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia has decided not to lift a ban on selling real estate to foreigners. The de facto parliament in Sukhumi has rejected a draft law that would have lifted the ban, which is written into the constitution.

News

Georgia plans total ban on tobacco ads, other strict measures

by | Apr 21
cigarettes2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is preparing an anti-smoking bill. It is not yet known when the law will come into force. Amiran Gamkrelidze, head of the National Center for Disease Control, says he hopes that the new regulations will come into force from fall.

News

Georgia’s universal health insurance will not be changed

by | Apr 21
sergeenko

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s minister of healthcare says there is no plan to change the system of universal health insurance, but the government is considering a number of reforms. Appearing in parliament Wednesday to talk about last year's achievements,

Youth

Darejan Tvaltvadze elected acting rector of Tbilisi State University

by | Apr 21
Darejan_Tvaltvadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Academic staff at Tbilisi State University voted for a new acting rector on Wednesday. The winner was the vice rector, Darejan Tvaltvadze, who received 526 out of 967 votes cast. Other candidates were TSU professors Levan Gordeziani

In brief

UN chief to visit South Caucasus this month

by | Apr 20
29276FC9-0C2C-49C9-BF2E-98B0FEDD5B7C_cx14_cy18_cw86_mw1024_s_n_r1

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon will pay an official visit to Georgia on 23–24 April on the invitation of Georgia’s Prime Minister. The Secretary General will hold meetings with representatives of the legislative and executive branches.

Media

Georgia’s Press Freedom score declines, ranking rises: RSF

by | Apr 20
13023567_10154096953114817_2045650328_n

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the relative rise in the ranking to the 64th place, the highest place in the region, Georgia’s score slightly declined. Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF), a France-based international organization, issued the

Security

Georgia may end compulsory military service in 2017: Defense minister

by | Apr 20
tina_khidasheli

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli says compulsory military service may be abolished from 2017. “This is my decision as minister of defense,” she told Channel 1 on Tuesday. “If another leader comes to this office, naturally, that decision may be changed.”

News

Constitutional Court rules against Saakashvili’s mother

by | Apr 19
giuli_alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled against the mother of former President Mikheil Saakashvili in her appeal against the seizing of her property. Giuli Alasania demanded that it be declared unconstitutional to seize property which might not

In brief

Gold bars worth USD 445,000 seized at Georgia-Azerbaijan border

by | Apr 19
gold_bars

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigative service arrested two Azerbaijani citizens on the so-called Red Bridge border crossing for attempting to illegally import 12 kg of gold to Georgia. The value of the gold bars is more than one million laris (USD 445,000).

Youth

Student activists say police threatened their families

by | Apr 19
student_protest_day_2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The student movement Auditorium 115, which sprang up a during a protest at Tbilisi State University (TSU) in March, claims that law enforcement bodies are putting pressure on them and their families. The State Security Service denies this.

News

EU considers including kill switch in agreement about visa-free travel

by | Apr 19
EU_Flag

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU may add a suspension clause to the text of the document about visa-free travel for citizens of Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo. The addendum will give Brussels the right to rapidly bring back visa requirements if it becomes necessary.

News

Tbilisi City Court rules in favor of Gia Gachechiladze in Maestro case

by | Apr 18
Maestro_logo

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court decided Monday that the Georgian rock singer Giorgi Gachechiladze, also known as Utsnobi, will remain in control of the TV company Maestro. The city court’s ruling forms the conclusion of a several months long lawsuit

News

Police in Georgia arrest 6 persons for trying to sell uranium

by | Apr 18
uranium-238

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have arrested six persons for attempting to sell radioactive uranium for USD 200 million. Savle Motiashvili, an investigator at the State Security Service, said at a briefing on Monday that they have arrested a three Armenian and

Youth

Students and lecturers in joint protest at Georgian Technical University

by | Apr 18
Georgian_Technical_University_student_protest

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last week, several lecturers at Georgian Technical University (GTU) have been on hunger strike demanding the resignation of the rector, who has been elected three times in a row. Five lecturers, with the support of students,

Minorities

Batumi Muslims continue demanding the right to build a new mosque

by | Apr 17
Orta_Jame_mosque_Batumi_2014-04-25

Tbilisi, DFWatch - On 15 April, after the weekly Friday prayer, Acharan Muslims organised a peaceful rally demanding construction permit for a new mosque in Batumi, Batumelebi (‘Batumians’) reported. The protesters marched to the government buildi

News

Abkhazian MP’s car hit by explosion in Sokhumi center

by | Apr 16
Abkhazian MP car explosion

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The official car of Almas Japua, MP in Abkhazia’s de facto parliament called the National Assembly, was hit by an explosion on Saturday evening, Sputnik Abkhazia reports. The car exploded on Sergei Bagapsh Square in

News

Georgian no longer language of instruction in Gali, Abkhazia

by | Apr 16
Gali school

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are now no schools using Georgian as language of instruction in Gali, a part of the breakaway region Abkhazia where 97 percent of the population are ethnic Georgians (Megrelians). Georgian children have to study school subjects

News

Man arrested in Tbilisi for slitting wife’s throat

by | Apr 15
no_to_violence_against_women02

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested a Tbilisi suburb Wednesday, suspected of slitting his wife’s throat with a knife. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an investigation has been launched under article 108 of the Criminal Code about premeditated murder.

News

Constitutional Court deprives security service of surveillance access keys

by | Apr 15
This_Affects_You_Too

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled Thursday to take the access keys to secret surveillance away from the State Security Service, which until now has had the technical means to access data that may identify people. Lika Sajaia, parliamentary

Society

U.S. Department of State releases new report on Georgia’s human rights record

by | Apr 14
According to the report, arbitrary detentions by Russian and de facto [South Ossetian] authorities of Georgian citizens along the administrative boundary line remain one of Georgia’s significant human rights challenges.

TBILISI, DFWatch--American Country Reports on Human Rights Practices points out shortcoming in Georgia’s democratic development, independence of the judiciary, minority rights protection, political persecution, and restrictions in media freedom.

In brief

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover January-March down 7%

by | Apr 14
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2016 was USD 2.136 million. This is 7 percent less than in the same period last year. According to preliminary figures from Georgia's National Statistics Department, GeoStat,

Economy

Georgian Manganese loses lawsuit over GEL 200 million tax penalty

by | Apr 14
Chiatura_mining_machinery

TBILISI, DFWatch--The company Georgian Manganese, which owns manganese mines in Chiatura and a ferro-alloy plant in Zestaponi, lost a court case against the government on Tuesday and must pay a 200 million laris (USD over  88.2 million) tax penalty

Youth

TSU students reject reform proposal, relaunch protests Saturday

by | Apr 14
TSU

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students at Tbilisi State University (TSU) will resume their protests on Saturday, after negotiations with the Ministry of Education failed. After a meeting with Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze Wednesday evening, members of the group Auditorium 115,

News

Poll: Georgian Dream 15%, National Movement 13%

by | Apr 13
NDI

TBILISI, DFWatch--Less than six months before the parliamentary election in Georgia, an opinion poll shows Georgian Dream in the lead with 15 percent and the National Movement second with 13 percent. But 38 percent don't know who they would vote for.

News

Saakashvili blames sex tape scandal on Bidzina Ivanishvili

by | Apr 13
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation2_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a TV interview Tuesday, Mikheil Saakashvili blamed former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili of a series of sex tapes posted online with threats against politicians. A fourth video was sent to a Georgian media outlet the same day as the former

News

Former head of Georgian military police charged with contract killing

by | Apr 13
megis kardava

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has charged the former head of the military police Megis Kardava with the murder of general Roman Dumbadze. The decision was made on April 7, but published on Tuesday. According to the Chief

News

Georgia improves on Freedom House index

by | Apr 13
freedom_house_logo

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia slightly improved its position on the Nations in Transit index published by the human rights organization Freedom House, and has the best result over the past nine years. Georgia’s score in the latest index is 4.61 points out of 7.

News

Georgian sex tape scandal continues, another video threat posted online

by | Apr 12
fourth_sex_video

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian sex video was posted on the Internet on Tuesday. The clip was sent to a media outlet; the same delivery method as the previous three times. This time, the website news.ge received an email with a video depicting

News

More Georgians think the country is moving in the wrong direction

by | Apr 12
NDI_1_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--A larger share of Georgians think the country is going in the wrong direction, according to  new opinion poll published Monday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). According to the poll, 39 percent of people think that Georgia is moving

News

Georgia increasingly attractive for Azerbaijani businessmen and activists

by | Apr 12
Border with Azerbaijan (DFWatch)

TBILISI, DFWatch--An increasing number of Azerbaijani citizens have been moving to Georgia in order to work and study. In addition to growing interest from tourists, one can already speak of a trend in which an increasing number of Azerbaijani choose

News

10% fewer Georgians want to join the Russian-led Eurasian Union

by | Apr 11
NDI_foriegn_policy_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The proportion of Georgians who think their country should join the Russian-led Eurasian Union has fallen by about ten percent since August, 2015. 20 percent of Georgians now agree that they should join the Eurasian Union, according

In brief

One person detained at South Ossetian boundary line

by | Apr 11
south_ossetia_border_sign_warning_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--43-year-old Erosi Takadze was detained by Russian border police at South Ossetian administrative boundary line (ABL) on Saturday, 9 April. According to Mr Takadze’s relatives in the village of Kirbali, which is located in Gori region right next

News

Another Georgian citizen killed in Syria

by | Apr 11
cemetery_pankisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vakha Bugiev, 39-year-old native of Chechnya became yet another Georgian citizen who died in Syria, Information Centre of Kakheti (ICK) reported. Mr Bugiev arrived to Georgia via Azerbaijan during the Second Chechen War in 2000 and was

News

Panama leak shows how Davit Kezerashvili became an oligarch

by | Apr 11
Davit_Kezerashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A newspaper report based on the leaked Panama documents shows how Davit Kezerashvili, who was defense minister during Saakashvili’s presidency, became an oligarch a few days after he resigned. The Swiss newspaper Tribune

News

12 Babushara victims buried in Tbilisi

by | Apr 10
Babushara_victims_funeral

TBILISI, DFWatch--12 more bodies have been identified from the Babushara airport disaster during the 1992-1993 Abkhazian war. The bodies were buried at Brothers’ Cemetery in Tbilisi on Saturday April 9, when Georgia commemorates the victims of the tragedy of 9 April 1989.

News

Pope Francis to visit Georgia as part of Caucasus tour

by | Apr 10
pope_francis

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pope Francis will visit Georgia in September as part of a tour of the Caucasus, by invitation of President GIorgi Margvelashvili. The president’s administration said Saturday that Margvelashvili invited the pope last year during his

News

Georgia marks National Unity Day

by | Apr 9
9 april

Members of the Georgian government gathered on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi in order to commemorate victims of the tragedy of 9 April 1989.

News

Shalva Ramishvili denies allegations he sexually harassed actress

by | Apr 9
Shalva_Ramishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The actress Tatia Samkharadze, or Taso Barnova as she is also known, claims that journalist and producer Shalva Ramishvili sexually harassed her. “I confirm that [my] former boss, Shalva Ramishvili, sexually harassed me, and it

News

Republican Party cabinet members will resign in August

by | Apr 8
samnidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican cabinet members will leave their posts in August, party leader Khatuna Samnidze said in an interview on Friday. The Republicans are part of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, but recently decided to run on an independent ticket

News

Check-in-Georgia kicks off April 24, nationwide series of concerts

by | Apr 8
check in

TBILISI, DFWatch--A nationwide music festival titled Check-in-Georgia will kick off in Tbilisi on April 24. The 35 concerts and festivals around the country will feature Robbie Williams, Maroon 5 and José Carreras. The festival,

In brief

Forest fire nearby Russian military base in South Ossetia

by | Apr 8
south ossetia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has declared readiness in helping to extinguish a forest fire in the vicinity of a Russian military facility in South Ossetia, Novosti-Gruziya reported.

News

Georgian lawmaker questions policy of seeking NATO membership

by | Apr 8
Tamaz_Mechiauri

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prominent member of parliament from the governing Georgian Dream coalition says Georgia should not seek membership in NATO if it is against the state interests. Tamaz Mechiauri, head of the finance and budget committee, also said he

Minorities

Suspect arrested for fatal stabbing in Tbilisi suburb

by | Apr 8
featured

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a person Thursday accused of murdering 22 year old Pikrat Akhmedov on December 28 in Ponichala, a predominantly Azeri suburb of Tbilisi. The Ministry of Internal Affairs informed said police from Isani-Samgori

News

Romania welcomes Georgia, Ukraine in potential NATO Black Sea fleet

by | Apr 7
Mihnea Motoc (MApN)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minister of defense of Romania Mihnea Motoc hopes that during the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw a decision will be made regarding creation of NATO Black Sea fleet with participation of Georgia and Ukraine.

News

Georgia to begin checking asset declarations by officials

by | Apr 7
Bidzina front

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is introducing a new law from January 2017 which will lead to a 1,000 fine for any official who fails to file or files incorrect asset declarations. There is currently no mechanism for reacting to incorrect submissions of asset declarations.

News

UK refuses to extradite former Georgian minister of defense

by | Apr 7
davit_kezerashvili_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--‘Political prosecution’ was used as the justification for the London court’s refusal to extradite former UNM official who served as Minister of Defense of Georgia during 2008 Russo-Georgian War and was charged with numerous crimes after his party

News

Talk show host fired, reason unclear

by | Apr 7
Shalva_Ramishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Shalva Ramishvili, a talk show host and producer at Imedi TV, was fired on Tuesday. In an interview with DFWatch, the journalist ruled out the possibility that he was fired because of government pressure. There was no warning

News

Georgia leaves gas transit agreement with Gazprom unchanged

by | Apr 7
gas_pipeline

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has renewed an agreement with Gazprom which means the country will continue to receive 10% of natural gas transiting through to Armenia. Gazprom has sent the text of the agreement to the Georgian Ministry of Energy,

News

One Armenian and one Azerbaijani MP concerned by Karabakh escalation

by | Apr 6
Ruslan_Pogosyan_and_Ali_Mamedov--parliament.ge

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two parliamentarians from the governing Georgian Dream coalition - one of Armenian, the other of Azerbaijani origin - express concern over the military situation in Nagorno-Karabakh after the recent escalation in hostilities. “We call

News

Usupashvili: Partnership with UNM ‘not serious’

by | Apr 6
davit_usupashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili flatly denied allegations that the Republican Party of Georgia, commonly known as the Republicans, was considering a partnership with the United National Movement (UNM) before the parliamentary

News

The story of Azerbaijani journalist fleeing her country

by | Apr 6
orunalist

By Delilah Damanova TBILISI, DFWatch--Last week European House hosted another meeting of the Thinking Citizen Center, an alternative education initiative for Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijanis. The Center’s vision is the intellectual and cultural transformation of ethnic

News

Georgia marks NATO Week on the eve of Warsaw Summit

by | Apr 6
nato_flag

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Two-day NATO–Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi opened NATO Week 2016, which will last from 4 to 19 April. ‘Georgia’s NATO and EU integration is our return to the European family with whom we are linked to by our common values of democracy, freedom and human rights protection.

News

Fighters recruited among Georgia’s minorities for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

by | Apr 6
arnold_stepanian

TBILISI, DFWatch--The escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has complicated relations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in Georgia. A small group of Georgian citizens plan to go to fight in case the conflict continues.

News

Georgia’s parliamentary election scheduled for October 8

by | Apr 6
preparing_voting-papers_at_number_4_precinct_Tbilisi_2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia on Tuesday announced that the parliamentary election in 2016 will be held on October 8. “I want to inform the public that the date of the parliamentary election is set for October 8. Tomorrow, the prime minister

News

Gori university lecturer claims she was fired because of anti-Stalinist views

by | Apr 6
Arina_Tavakarashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lecturer at the University of Gori, a town 80km west of the capital, claims that she was fired because of her anti-Stalinist opinions. Arina Tavakarashvili wrote on her Facebook page that the canceling of her lectures was related to the issue

News

Vice speaker doubts ‘Panama Papers’ report about Ivanishvili

by | Apr 5
manana_kobakhidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A leading Georgian parliamentarian says she doubts the accuracy of a journalistic investigation published on Sunday which also included material about the Georgian billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili’s

News

Georgian president calls for Karabakh de-escalation

by | Apr 5
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili called for a ‘peaceful end to the tensions’ in the recent outbreak of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, Rustavi 2 reported. President made his remarks during the second day of the NATO–Georgia

In brief

17% more visitors to Georgia in March 2016 compared to last year

by | Apr 5
tourism_climbing_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of visitors entering Georgia in March grew by 16.7 percent, compared to same period last year, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the new monthly report of MIA the number of visitors in March was 450,875.

News

Demand for tougher regulation of surveillance following sex tapes scandal

by | Apr 5
This_Affects_You_Too

TBILISI, DFWatch--Organizations that are members of the campaign This Affects You Too on Monday called on the government to take measures to rein in the use of secret surveillance and wiretapping. The groups also demand the resignation of Chief Prosecutor

Education

Tbilisi State University to select new rector on April 20

by | Apr 5
TSU

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi State University (TSU) has scheduled the selection of a new rector for April 20. Vladimer Papava resigned as rector after a student rebellion and a nearly week-long sit-in. The TSU’s academic council decided on Monday that the

Caucasus region

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Georgia may offer to host negotiations

by | Apr 4
vakhtang_kapanadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is considering offering Azerbaijan and Armenia to negotiate about the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, where at least 33 people have died and more than 200 have been injured during the last few days, according to the United Nations.

Politics

National Forum withdraws from coalition, parliamentary majority

by | Apr 4
gubaz_sanikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Forum withdrew from the governing Georgian Dream coalition -on Sunday, and the following day party leaders said they are also withdrawing from the parliamentary majority. Leader of the party Kakha Shartava

Investigative reports

Offshore Company Spent 3 Years Chasing Ivanishvili’s Passport

by | Apr 3
Bidzina front

By Nino Bakradze and Dave Bloss Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project TBILISI, REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA -- Bidzina Ivanishvili's wealth is not all hidden away in vaults. His 108,000 square foot glass house perches on a hill above the capital city of the country he returned to rule as prime minister after leaving for neighboring Russia as a young man and accumulating billions of dollars before moving back to Georgia in 2004.

Europe

EU’s Avramopoulos optimistic about visa-free travel for Georgians

by | Apr 2
dimitris_avramopoulos

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU’s commissioner for home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said Saturday that he is confident that the EU Parliament will support the proposed visa liberalization for Georgia. After meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the commissioner

News

Tbilisi plans to regulate its taxis to ‘eliminate discomfort’

by | Apr 2
taxi_drivers_frontpage

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall has begun work on a new taxi regulation that will eliminate the discomfort of taking taxis in the capital. Mayor Davit Narmania said Friday that taking a taxi will become more secure and comfortable. The new regulation

News

National Forum third GD coalition partner to go independent

by | Apr 1
gubaz_sanikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Forum, a member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, declared Thursday its intention to run as an independent party in the parliamentary election this fall. The Republican Party was the first of the parties in the

News

Sex tapes were not uploaded from Georgia: Prosecutor

by | Apr 1
vasadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Chief Prosecutor’s Office claims three sex tapes posted to the Internet in order to threaten politicians were not uploaded from Georgia. Mamuka Vasadze, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, said at a briefing on Friday that investigators are currently

News

European People’s Party president meets imprisoned UNM officials

by | Apr 1
Daul

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Joseph Daul expressed his support for the United National Movement and made comments on EU visa liberalisation process. President of the European People's Party (EPP), Joseph Daul paid a visit to Georgia in order to meet with representatives of the opposition party United National Movement (UNM) and express his support for the party.

News

Georgia aims to maintain 10% share of Gazprom natural gas transit

by | Mar 31
Anti-Gazprom Demonstration in Tbilisi March, 2016 (DFWatch)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has offered Gazprom to continue the transit of natural gas to Armenia. under the same conditions as before. The details of the offers are not known, but the negotiations between the Georgian government and Gazprom will finish

Politics

Republicans and Georgian Dream to run as independent parties

by | Mar 31
samnidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two of the parties in the governing Georgian Dream coalition have decided to run as independent parties in the upcoming parliamentary election. The Republican Party declared Thursday that they plan to participate in the election independently,

News

New Georgian sex tape posted online

by | Mar 31
sex_tape_III_screenshot_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more sex tape was uploaded to Youtube on Thursday, targeting a Georgian politician. The video was posted on the personal Facebook pages of a journalist and an actor and later removed. The police questioned actor Beso Zanguri. Journalist

Youth

TSU rector resigns after weeks of protests

by | Mar 31
lado_papava_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vladimer Papava, the rector of Tbilisi State University (TSU), resigned Wednesday, but denied that he had done so because of pressure. “A lot of things influenced this decision. Their hunger strike and your demands, but many other things,” Vladimer Papava said.

Security

Georgian official blames Russia for sex tape scandal

by | Mar 30
levan_Izoria

TBILISI, DFWatch--A deputy head of the Georgian counterintelligence on Monday hinted that Russia could be behind leaked surveillance videos recently used to threaten government members, although he did not rule out any theory. The videos were uploaded

Youth

Intelligence official denies the presence of agents at TSU

by | Mar 30
levan izoria2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict at Tbilisi State University (TSU) seemed to be over a few weeks ago, but now Georgian intelligence has jumped into the fray, announcing that it hasn’t had agents at TSU since the beginning of this year. The presence

News

Ukraine fires deputy chief prosecutor, a Georgian

by | Mar 30
davit_sakvarelidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Davit Sakvarelidze, a former Georgian official, has been fired as deputy chief prosecutor of Ukraine. He was fired for violating the ethics of a prosecutor, and for interfering in the business of another prosecutor, according to the the website

News

Reports: Georgian women more present in business than in government

by | Mar 29
table

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia scores high in international rankings of women’s participation in business management, although few Georgian women hold political office.

News

CEC approves referendum bid about same-sex marriage

by | Mar 29
cesko

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission (CEC) has approved a proposal to hold a referendum about whether to allow same sex marriage in Georgia. The proposal, which was submitted by a group of seven people, will not automatically

News

Sukhishvili performed at Russian oligarch son’s Moscow wedding

by | Mar 29
suxishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian media reported that Elton John, Sting, Jeniffer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Beyonce and others performed at the wedding of the son of Russian oligarch Mikhail Gutseriev March 26 in Moscow. It caught some attention in Georgia

News

Over 1,400 minors became parents in Georgia last year

by | Mar 29
early_marriage_01

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 1,440 minors became parents in 2015 and there were registered 611 marriages of people from 16 to 18 years, according to a report published Monday by Georgia’s ombudsman. In 2014, there were registered 665 marriages involving minors.

Caucasus region

One more human rights activist released from Azerbaijan prison

by | Mar 28
Intigam

TBILISI, DFWatch--Azerbaijani authorities released from prison Intigam Aliyev, a lawyer and human rights activist, on March 28, as the court in Baku commuted his 7.5 years-long term to a suspended 5 year sentence, Radio Liberty Azerbaijan reported.

In brief

‘No tragedy’ if GD coalition falls apart: Kaladze

by | Mar 28
Kaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream — Democratic Georgia, a key political party within the Georgian Dream coalition, may opt for running independently in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Kakha Kaladze, Minister of Energy stated Saturday, thus adding fuel to the fire in the widespread

In brief

Georgian PM takes part in Armenian Easter celebrations

by | Mar 28
Armenia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili visited the newly renovated Cathedral of Saint George in Tbilisi’s Old Town, in order to join Armenian Easter celebrations. Adherents of the Armenian Apostolic Church are almost exclusively ethnic

In brief

Tbilisi City Hall will pay for Sameba Cathedral restoration

by | Mar 28
Sameba

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall announced its plans to sponsor restoration works at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, known colloquially as Sameba (‘Trinity’), which was damaged by fire earlier this month. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili asked the Minister

Economy

Car dealers demonstrate against ban on right-hand drive vehicles

by | Mar 27
car_market

TBILISI, DFWatch--Car dealers demonstrated in Rustavi on Friday against the government’s initiative to ban the registration of cars with right-hand drive from 2017. The protest took place at Georgia’s largest car market, located in Rustavi,

News

Former police official Erekle Kodua sentenced in absentia

by | Mar 27
erekle_kodua_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former government official was Thursday sentenced in absentia by Tbilisi City Court to two years in jail for exceeding official powers. The Prosecutor General’s Office says Erekle Kodua, who chaired the Special Operative Department (SOD) of the

News

Public hearing process begins for constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

by | Mar 26
manana_kobakhidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A parliamentary commission has launched a public debate about a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The first meeting was held on Friday in Telavi, in the eastern Kakheti

Environment

Apartment block planned on cemetery for German prisoners from WWII

by | Mar 25
cemetery

TBILISI, DFWatch--A construction company plans to build residential apartments on what according to locals is a cemetery for German prisoners of war from World War II. According to the environmentalist group Guerrilla Gardening Tbilisi, construction is planned

Economy

Gori wind farm expected to start producing electricity in December

by | Mar 25
wind_farm

TBILISI, DFWatch--Construction of wind a farm in Gori, 80km west of the capital, will be completed by the end of 2016, according to the Energy Ministry. Deputy Energy Minister Irakli Khmaladze said the power station

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade Jan-Feb down 2%

by | Mar 25
Rustavi_car_market_-_rustavi.ge_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first two months of 2016 was 2 percent less than last year, totaling USD 1,413 million. According to a new monthly report by the National Statistics Department (GeoStat), export was down 13 percent to USD 281 million,

News

Abkhazia field meetings to be resumed after near four-year break

by | Mar 24
incident_prevention_and_response_mechanism_abkhazia_IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parties have agreed to resume talks aimed at solving problems in the border areas near the Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia. Agreement to resume the talks, called Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), was reached

In brief

Georgia postpones ban on registration of right-hand cars till 2017

by | Mar 24
Rustavi_car_market_-_rustavi.ge_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia postpones banning on registration of cars with right-hand drive until January 1, 2017, to allow enough time to car importers to reshuffle their business and carry out commitments under the existing contracts, Deputy Minister of Interior said during

News

Tkibuli miners threaten new strike

by | Mar 24
miners_on_strike_tkibuli

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Trade Unions warns that workers in the coal mines in Tkibuli may go on strike again. Workers were on strike for two weeks in February, but an agreement was reached a few weeks ago. The trade union says the the mining

In brief

Ivanishvili won’t return to politics: Kaladze

by | Mar 24
kakhi-kaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili will keep promise not to return to politics, Minister of Energy and the first vice Prime Minister, Kakha Kaladaze stated on Thursday, diffusing speculations in the media that the oligarch would be included

News

Interpol drops arrest warrant for Georgia’s former security chief

by | Mar 23
data akhalaia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor states that former chief of security had Interpol’s red notice removed against him due to his refugee status, not ‘political persecution’, despite his family’s claims. Interpol removed an arrest warrant that was

News

Two suspected of stealing oil from BP’s pipeline in Georgia

by | Mar 23
PIPELINE

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons have been detained for allegedly stealing crude oil from Baku-Supsa Pipeline (BSP), which is used to transport Azerbaijani oil to Georgia’s Black Sea terminal and is operated by  British Petroleum. The crime

News

Netherlands extradites former Georgian counterintelligence officer

by | Mar 23
adjara_prosecutor_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Netherlands on Tuesday extradited a former Georgian intelligence official known as ‘Mastera’. Giorgi Dgebuadze, a former official of the Constitutional Security Council (Kudi), was transferred by the request of Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

News

Georgian Orthodox Church calls sex-tape blackmail malice

by | Mar 23
Patriarchate

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Orthodox Church said in a statement Tuesday that the publishing of sex-tapes in the media is ‘deliberate malice.’ Two videos were recently published on Youtube, showing well-known Georgians engaging in sex. The tapes

News

Georgia strengthens security at airports and borders after Brussels attacks

by | Mar 22
tbilisi international airport

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is strengthening security measures in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday. At least 34 people were killed in Brussels on Tuesday. Three bombs went off in the morning; two at Brussels airport and one at a metro station

News

Georgian politicians react to Brussels attacks

by | Mar 22
davit_usupashvili-

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s main political figures pay condolences and stress the importance of strong intelligence services in wake of today’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. At least 34 people died in today’s terror attacks that shook Brussels, Belgian public broadcaster VRT reported.

Media

Dispute about control over Maestro settled

by | Mar 22
Maestro_logo

TBILISI, DFWatch--Agreement was reached on Monday between the owners of Maestro TV to allow the channel to continue using its logo, settling a several months long dispute. The agreement was announced in a statement by Gia Gachechiladze (‘Utsnobi’), who owns

News

Saakashvili calls on his party in Georgia to introduce gender quotas

by | Mar 22
mikheil_saakashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president who is governor of Odessa in Ukraine, has advised his party home in Georgia to have 50 percent women on the election list for the upcoming parliamentary election, which will be held later this year.

News

Iraqi media: Body of Omar al-Shishani found

by | Mar 21
umar-shishani

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ten bodies of Islamic State fighters were found east of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, including the body of Tarkhan Batirashvili (Omar al-Shishani), the Iraqi TV channel Al Sumaria reported. General in the Iraqi army Islail Mahlawi told

News

Georgia’s Russia envoy Abashidze answers president’s criticism

by | Mar 21
abashidze_zurab

TBILISI, DFWatch--Diplomat Zurab Abashidze has expressed astonishment at a statement by President Giorgi Margvelashvili that he had not properly handled a critical remark by a Russian diplomat. Abashidze, whose full title is Prime Minister’s

In brief

Prayer service suspended at Sameba Cathedral after fire

by | Mar 21
fire_damage_sameba_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prayer service has been temporarily halted at Sameba Cathedral after a fire burned about 1,200 square meters on the ground floor of the building on Sunday. However, prayer will offer in four little churches on the territory of Sameba that are

News

Georgian president faults envoy’s handling of Russian diplomat’s reprimand

by | Mar 21
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday criticized his country's envoy for failing to respond adequately to criticism from a Russian diplomat during a bilateral meeting in Prague last week. President Margvelashvili

News

Margvelashvili praises TSU students for their commitment

by | Mar 21
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Sunday praised the students at Tbilisi State University for their commitment to social issues after the end of a near week-long sit-in. President Giorgi Margvelashvili recalled sending advisers to the university during

In brief

Fire burns 1,200 square meters at Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi

by | Mar 21
sameba_fire

TBILISI, DFWatch--An area of more than 1,200 square meters was burnt at Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi on Sunday after a fire started on the ground floor of the cathedral. More than a hundred firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, which started at about 14:00 and lasted

In brief

Inequality lowers Georgia’s happiness score: Report

by | Mar 20
160311-whr-2016-happy-ppl-opt

TBILISI, DFwatch--According to the World Happiness Report 2016, published today, Georgia is in 126th place out of 157 countries included in the study. The result places Georgia as the 'least happy' country of the former Soviet Union, while Uzbekistan

In brief

Georgian leaders send condolences to Russia after Rostov-on-Don plane crash

by | Mar 19
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President and Prime Minister expressed their condolences to the families of victims of a deadly plane crash in Rostov, Russia. “I express my deepest sympathy to the victims of Flydubai passenger plane crash in Rostov, where dozens

News

House used for checkpoint should be compensated: Ombudsman

by | Mar 18
ucha_nanuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian ombudsman says the Ministry of Internal Affairs failed to compensate a man for using his house as a checkpoint in a village bordering South Ossetia. In a statement published Friday, the ombudsman writes that the

News

String of concerts planned in election year, including Robbie Williams

by | Mar 18
giorgi_kvirikashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the parliamentary election draws nearer, Georgia’s Culture Ministry is planning a string of concerts, beginning in April, which will feature world famous musicians. Negotiations have been launched with Robbie Williams and Eros Rammazotti.

News

Georgia lets Russian MP visit Tbilisi despite ban on Abkhazia & SO visits

by | Mar 18
grigory_karasin-

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Russian member of parliament will be allowed to attend a meeting of the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Tbilisi between July 1 and 5, although he has violated

Economy

Koba Gvenetadze appointed new head of Georgia’s National Bank

by | Mar 17
koba_gvenetadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president has appointed a new head of the National Bank (NBG). The appointment was signed by President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Thursday. Outgoing NBG head Giorgi Kadagidze will be replaced Koba Gvenetadze, a former politician

News

Building of new fire trench discussed at South Ossetia field meeting

by | Mar 17
IPRM64

TBILISI, DFWatch--As representatives of Georgia and the breakaway region South Ossetia sat down on Tuesday for a regular field meeting, one of the major topics of discussion was the situation in the village Jariasheni, where construction work is in progress.

News

Russian diplomat criticizes Georgian leaders for anti-Russian rhetoric

by | Mar 17
grigory_karasin-

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Russian deputy foreign minister has criticized Georgian politicians for engaging in anti-Russian rhetoric, warning that patience has its limits. Gregory Karasin made the statement in Prague on Wednesday after meeting with Georgian

Youth

Negotiation attempts fail to solve TSU student protest

by | Mar 16
student_protest_speaker_tuesday

TBILISI, DFWatch--For more than a week, students have been protesting at Tbilisi State University and the tension continues to escalate. TSU is split in two, with the police and security guards protecting every entrance to the two-wing building occupied by students.

News

More people charged in Georgia sex tape scandal

by | Mar 16
adjara_prosecutor_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office Saturday evening arrested two persons for illegally storing and spreading videos depicting individuals in intimate settings. The office said that apart from the two who were arrested Saturday - Zurab Jamalashvili

Youth

Student conflict escalates as rector refuses to resign

by | Mar 15
lado_papava_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--On the fifth day of protests, two opposing student groups continue to occupy a building at Tbilisi State University. Both groups grew increasingly frustrated with a decision by police not to allow anyone to enter the building except accredited journalists.

News

Two men detained for distributing secret surveillance videos

by | Mar 15
moduli_building

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people have been detained for allegedly collecting, storing and distributing videos depicting the private lives of people. The Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed the detentions, and later issued a statement which said that the two are detained for

In brief

US confirms Shishani’s death

by | Mar 15
umar-shishani

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pentagon officials confirm the death of the Islamic State’s prominent field commander Tarkhan Batirashvili (Omar al-Shishani), CNN reported. On 9 March, major Western news outlets reported that Mr Batirashvili, 30, was ‘likely killed’ in

News

NGOs demand tougher measures to stop surveillance videos

by | Mar 15
This_Affects_You_Too

TBILISI, DFWatch--NGOs in Georgia demand the creation of an investigative tool to combat the spreading of videos depicting people’s intimate lives and they want international experts to be involved in this. The initiative comes from organizations which are part

News

Georgian president promises to defeat ‘dark forces’ behind sex tapes

by | Mar 14
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday promised that the ‘dark forces’ attempting to blackmail free society will be defeated and fittingly punished. “I guarantee that the fight against those criminals will be won,” he said at a briefing

News

Georgia sex tape scandal not over, new video posted Monday

by | Mar 14
lasha_berulava2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Strangers Monday posted one more video online showing sex scenes involving a public person. The Youtube video was accompanied by a warning that more videos will be posted soon. Youtube was cut off for some time for Georgian users.

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