Posts by DFWatch staff:

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

The Ministry of Internal Affairs on Wednesday indicted six athletes for the violent incident in Samegrelo,

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

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, Society

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,

Minorities, 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

Society

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.

Minorities, 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

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