News

New NGO to protect victims of government

by | November 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Ani Nadareishvili, wife of the detained former interior and defense minister Bacho Akhalaia, is founding a new non-governmental organization (NGO). The new NGO will request official statistics about the criminal cases recently from the interior

News

Hillary Clinton comments on detentions

by | November 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s opposition National Movement party is reacting to statements made by U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a visit by Georgia's Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze to the US. “We are very much supportive of the peaceful

News

Ex-official detained a second time

by | November 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Interior Ministry official who was recently detained, but let out on bail, has again been detained. Tengiz Gunava, former chair of General Inspection at the Interior Ministry after Bacho Akhalaia was appointed as minister, was called

Media, News

TV9 becomes general broadcaster

by | November 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A TV company affiliated with the governing Georgian Dream coalition is going to become a general broadcaster. Thursday morning it became known that TV 9 will become a general broadcaster, which means that it will have the right to broadcast

News

Zestaponi town trustee detained

by | November 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s new government Thursday detained another official from the previous government. Kakha Getsadze, trustee of Zestaponi, a town in western Georgia, who is also president of the Wrestling Federation, was November 29 detained. He is accused

News

Rubin sees need for further justice reforms

by | November 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, says there is need for further reforms of the justiciary in Georgia to create rule of law. Commenting on the recent detention of dozens of former government

News

Georgia to introduce new tough labor code

by | November 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government in Georgia has started amending the country's labor code, which has been criticized by local groups and the international community. The parliamentary committee on health care and social issues initiated a draft amendment

News

Crime wave hits Georgia due to ‘vacuum’

by | November 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Interior Minister says he is not alarmed by a 50 percent increase in petty crime after the new government came to power, compared to previous months. After the Georgian Dream coalition took over in early October, the National Movement

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili defends cuts in Saakashvili’s lifestyle

by | November 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia spends nearly USD 85 000 per day on its president, while the minimum amount of pension is USD 60 a month. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said it on Wednesday as his government was discussing the 2013 draft budget, and the comment

Economy, News

LSE wants to educate Georgian business leaders

by | November 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- What does it take to get a company listed on London Stock Exchange (LSE)? That was one of the questions addressed at a conference in Tbilisi Tuesday, and who better to hear it from than the LSE itself, which organized the event. The goal of the

News

Georgia’s ex-speaker of parliament may also be investigated

by | November 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- An investigation may be launched against the former parliament speaker in Georgia. Koba Davitashvili, who represents the majority in parliament, demands an investigation against Davit Bakradze, the former parliament speaker in the previous period.

News

6 500 prisoners to be released in Georgia

by | November 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- According to preliminary estimates by the Prison Ministry, about 6 500 prisoners will leave prison in Georgia soon. Prison Minister Sozar Subari said this in an interview on one of the local TV channels Wednesday. A day earlier, his deputy Giga

News

Broad investigation of Tbilisi City Hall

by | November 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian investigators are preparing a massive check-up of seven departments in the Tbilisi City Hall system. The press office of City Hall says an investigation has been launched at three different bodies: the Finance Ministry, Interior Ministry

Elections '12-'13, News

Political clashes in Georgian villages

by | November 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There were clashes between supporters of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakaashvili in two Georgian villages on Tuesday. Locals in Martvili, a small town in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region in the west, demanded

News

Amnesty plan modified out of concern for consequences

by | November 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The planned mass amnesty in Georgia may apply to eight thousand prisoners and 19 000 on probation. Giga Giorgadze, Deputy Prison Minister, said this Tuesday at a session of parliament's committee of human rights during review of a draft bill.

In brief, News

New round of Georgia-EU free trade talks

by | November 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- EU-Georgia today opened the fourth round of negotiations of the proposed Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in Brussels. In parallel, the twelfth session of negotiations of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU was also

News

Friendly talks between Rubin and Ivanishvili

by | November 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for EU and Eurasian Affairs, held a meeting with Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Tuesday. At the meeting the parties spoke about US-Georgian relations, expressing hope to further

News

New investigation into death of Georgian PM

by | November 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Investigators in Georgia have reopened the case of the death of a former prime minister, according to his brother. Goga Zhvania, brother of Zurab Zhvania, who served as Saakashvili’s first prime minister from 2004 to 2005, yesterday evening

In brief, News

Rubin visiting Georgia for defense and security talks

by | November 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in EU and Eurasian Affairs, is visiting Georgia. Rubin will have meetings during November 27-29. The US Embassy in Georgia informed DF Watch that Eric Rubin will meet representatives of

Economy, News

Georgia’s trade turnover grows 15 percent Jan.-Oct. 12

by | November 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia increased its foreign trade turnover with 15 percent in the first ten months of 2012. In plain numbers it totaled USD 8 521 million. Out of this, export was USD 1 985 million, while import was USD 6 536 million. The country's negative

News

Ashton urges Saakashvili and Ivanishvili to work constructively

by | November 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Monday met with Prime Minister and President. Briefing the media at Sheraton Metekhi Hotel, Catherine Ashton said she arrived to congratulate both Prime Minister and

News

Stalin monument restored in Georgia

by | November 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A statue of Joseph Stalin in a town east in Georgia which was dismantled in 2011 has been restored. According to Information Center of Kakheti, locals Sunday morning discovered the restored Stalin statue in Akhmeta. The monument of the Soviet

Economy, News

Gulf owner buys more shares in company

by | November 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- One of Georgia's richest businessmen increased his share of ownership in one of the country's largest chains of petrol stations. Davit Iakobashvili is the largest shareholder in Gulf Company. According to Gulf's press office, he has now increased

In brief, News

Ashton visiting Georgia

by | November 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Catherine Ashton, EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visits Georgia. Her one day visit includes meetings with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanisvhili and Foreign Affairs

News

Ex-minister Merabishvili denies wrongdoing

by | November 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Interior Minister who is accused of abuse of power says he is ready to answer all questions, but that the accusations against him can not be taken seriously. The case broke a few days ago, when the Interior Ministry provided the prosecutor’s

Media, News

Georgian PM proposes controversial TV plan

by | November 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims he is ready to give his TV channel to Georgian Public Broadcaster or transform it into a public broadcaster. He will even finance it for next 20 years with no strings attached. TV 9 was set up about ten

Society

Trade unions advise new Georgian government

by | November 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian Dream coalition had on its agenda to change many things after coming to power, including improve conditions in the work place by amending the Georgian labor code, which was amended in 2006 and has been criticized since both locally and

In brief, News

Three Georgians released by Tskhinvali authorities

by | November 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three Georgian citizens have been released from prison in occupied Tskhinvali region. The three were arrested for crossing the de facto border at the village Kirbali, near the town Gori. Georgia’s Interior Ministry informs that Gia and Akaki

News

Merabishvili may be investigated

by | November 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The interior ministry in Georgia has asked the prosecutors to investigate former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Ministry spokesperson Nino Giorgobiani Saturday morning explained at a press conference that the material submitted to

Media, News

Georgian media is partial, report shows

by | November 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A new report shows that Georgian TV companies have problems with bringing balanced and objective information. Channel 9, which belongs to Prime Minister Bidizna Ivanishvili, is now positive to the new government, but before the election

Society

Rose revolutionaries organize SOS movement

by | November 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A recently established movement called SOS on Thursday gathered to celebrate the 9 year anniversary of the Rose Revolution. About 30 people showed up at Square of Roses, which is named after the Rose Revolution. The SOS movement was set up a week

In brief, News

Friend of Tbilisi Mayor released on bail

by | November 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A friend of the Tbilisi Mayor suspected of money laundering was today released on a USD 90 000 bail for 30 days. Giorgi Kelbakiani, Georgia Director of the construction company NCC, and Archil Chigogava, Financial Director of the same company

News

Georgian PM’s visit to US postponed

by | November 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian Prime Minister’s visit to the US has been postponed until next year. Bidzina Ivanishvili explains that too many problems arise when he leaves the country. At Thursday's press conference, the Prime Minister spoke very little about

News

Four intelligence personnel released on bail

by | November 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Appeals Court released four out of ten employees of the Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry from pretrial detention on Thursday evening. All of them left prison at about 04:00 in the morning. November 15, ten employees

News

Amnesty plan leads to controversy

by | November 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Prime Minister says that the planned law about amnesty may increase the level of crime for a certain time in the country, but society should understand this. At Thursday’s press conference at Radisson Blu Iveria with tens of

News

Borjomi mineral water may get back to Russia

by | November 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The well known Georgian mineral water Borjomi is ready to be brought back on the Russian market. November 19, Borjomi International Company officially appealed to the chair of Russia’s consumer protection agency CPS (Rospotrebnadzor) requesting

News

Political prisoners list criticized

by | November 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former government in Georgia accuses the new government of having illegally granted prisoners status as political prisoners, but new the government denies the accusation. After a parliamentary committee recognized 186 persons as political

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili will not impeach Saakashvili

by | November 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will not impeach President Mikheil Saakashvili, as he previously had said he would do. “When we enter parliament as a majority we will immediately begin to discuss his impeachment if he doesn’t proceed to

News

Money laundering charges against friend of Tbilisi mayor

by | November 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A friend of the Tbilisi mayor who is co-owner and director of a large construction company was yesterday detained accused of money laundering. Giorgi Kelbakiani, who owns 70 percent of the shares in, and is director of NCC Ltd, was detained

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishivili changes plans: won’t leave power

by | November 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who recently became prime minister of Georgia, is considering going back on a promise to leave politics in a year and a half. During the election campaign, Ivanishvili claimed that he would leave politics

In brief, News

Estonia recognizes Georgia-issued neutral passports

by | November 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Estonia has recognized so-called neutral passports as travel documents. The Reintegration Minister's office November 12 received a note from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Estonia which said that the country approves the documents as valid

News

Georgia’s new parliament is privately owned

by | November 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian parliament has decided to study the expenses spent on constructing an entirely new building for the assembly in the city Kutaisi, in western Georgia. It was a controversial decision from the start to move parliament to the west, made

News

President’s security unit turned into paramilitary force

by | November 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The majority in parliament wants the government to take control over the Special State Protection Service (SSPS). Today, this security force answers directly to the president. Parliament's committee on human rights today reviewed the issue.

Opinion

Georgia and the Great Ideological Struggle

by | November 21, 2012

Mikhail Saakashvili’s conceding speech heralded historical victory for liberal democracy in a region, where intimidation, oppression and revolution had been the common place for two centuries of Russian domination. His speech indicated that for the first time in

In brief, News

Georgia ready to extend Afghanistan mission

by | November 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia will continue its participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan also after 2014. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said this while briefing David Lidington, the UK's Minister of State for Europe, about the Georgian

News

Court heard new charges against top general

by | November 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday has released the accused former head of the General Headquarters from detention for a third time as he awaits trial for beating and harassing his subordinates. The Prosecutor's Office asked the court to detain

In brief, News

Lidington visits Georgia

by | November 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- David Lidington, the UK's Minister of State for Europe, will visit Georgia on November 21 and 22. Wednesday, he will meet with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affairs Minister, Giga

News

Saakashvili compares Ivanishvili with Robespierre

by | November 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili calls on the new government to start fulfilling its election promises and stop vengeance, comparing Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili with the French revolutionary leader Maximilien de Robespierre. He drew attention

News

Okruashvili case postponed

by | November 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The court hearing for former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili was postponed till December 3 at the request of his lawyers. Okruashvili served as minister in Saakashvili's government, but left in 2007 and has since been living in France, where he has

In brief, News

NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Brussels Tuesday

by | November 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, November 19 left for Brussels to attend the session. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is also on a working visit to Brussels, both participating in the NGC session on the level

News

Okruashvili returned to Georgia to clear his name

by | November 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Defense Minister who has lived the last years as a political refugee in France this morning returned to Georgia and was detained on arrival. He was brought to Gldani’s No 8 prison in Tbilisi, which is one of the most crowded prisons in

News, Politics

Why Ivanishvili cut 93% of Security Council’s funding

by | November 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Security Council, which is a body subordinate to the president, cannot prove what it has spent USD 13.8 million on. This is why new the government cut its financing by the same amount in next year's draft budget. Georgia’s 2013 draft

News

Pardon commission prepared list of recommendations

by | November 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- While on Monday parliament discussed a draft bill about amnesty, the pardon commission reviewed 1 400 cases of prisoners, but made a decision to release less than half of them. The pardon commission studies cases of prisoners to prepare a list

News

Prosecutor preparing further detentions

by | November 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- “There is no official whose name is not present in the prosecutor’s office's database,” says Georgia’s chief prosecutor, but he avoids revealing who might be detained next in the near future. Archil Kbilashvili made this statement after

News

Military top handed new charges

by | November 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Presecutors in Georgia have charged the former head of the General Headquarter with a new accusation of illegal deprivation of freedom. Monday morning the accused, Giorgi Kalandadze, was once again

News

A mass amnesty expected in Georgia

by | November 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's parliament on Monday started discussing a draft law on amnesty which will release thousands of prisoners and reduce the sentence of others to half. The ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the minority National Movement party hold

In brief, News

Georgian sailors abandoned by ship’s owner

by | November 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Twelve Georgian sailors have asked for help from Panama as they are five km away from the nearest port and running out of food and electricity. The sailors are aboard the Maria Del Carmen sailing under Nigerian flag and have been out for

Opinion

Can Georgia Avoid the Traps of the Past?

by | November 19, 2012

The results of the recent parliamentary elections in Georgia caught everyone by surprise. Observers had confidently predicted that Misha Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) would prevail and that his declaration of victory would be followed by protests

Economy, News

Minimum wage increased one dollar in October

by | November 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The minimum wage has increased by about one dollar in October compared to September, 2012, according to Georgia's National Statistics Department. According to GeoStat, the minimum wage for men of working age has increased from USD 89.7 to USD 90.7;

NGO news

Unscheduled audit of Georgia’s public broadcaster

by | November 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Revenue Service November 6 started an unscheduled audit of the financial activity of the Public Broadcaster. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri November 7 stated that Georgia’s Public Broadcaster has about USD 2.2 million in debt to the

In brief, News

Germany to help Georgia mend relations to Russia

by | November 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Germany wants to play a positive role in the process of restoring relations between Georgia and Russia, says Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister after meeting with her German colleague in Germany. According to the foreign ministry, Foreign

News

Former interior ministry top denied bail

by | November 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Former Deputy Interior Minister Shota Khizanishvili was on Sunday given pre-trial detention until the start of the court case on December 28. Khizanishvili, who is currently Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, was detained November 15 for abuse of powers

News

Georgia’s former intelligence chief to be charged in absentia

by | November 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Prosecutor’s Office on Monday is expected to charge the former head of Georgia's domestic intelligence service in absentia. Data Akhalaia was head of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD), locally known as 'Kudi', and former

News

Ten intelligence officers jailed for 55 days

by | November 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Ten of the intelligence officers who were detained Friday have been sentenced to preliminary detention by Tbilisi City Court and were denied bail. November 15, eleven employees of the constitutional security department (CSD) of the interior ministry

In brief, News

U.S. envoy discussed Georgia’s new approach to Russia

by | November 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Saturday met the U.S. Philip Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, visited Georgia for a second day

In brief, News

Gordon calls on Saakashvili and Ivanishivli to cooperate

by | November 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The U.S. diplomat Philip Gordon Friday met government and other officials in Georgia. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, met with Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament; Davit Bakradze

News

Saakashvili heavyweights weigh in on detentions

by | November 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The long serving interior minister in Georgia has weighed in on the prosecution of his former deputy. Vano Merabishvili, the powerful and feared former interior minister who last summer became prime minister, and after losing the parliamentary

News

Georgian intelligence accused of political interference

by | November 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Intelligence officers detained yesterday are accused of using computer viruses to record audio and video of opposition groups, and blackmailing a man to record a prepared statement on video and upload it to Youtube. Former officials of the

News

Georgia opens sweeping case against domestic intelligence

by | November 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prosecutors in Georgia have detained twelve former and current mostly intelligence officers and accused them of kidnapping, unjustified interrogations, abuse of powers, intrusion on privacy and intentional damage to property. Eleven out of the

Economy, News

Russia considers lifting embargo on Georgian wine

by | November 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Moscow is ready to consider allowing Georgian wine back onto the Russian market. Andrei Denisov, First Deputy Foreign Minister, said on Wednesday that there is a willingness on both sides to study the issue. "If we talk about specific cases, it is

Media, News

How Mze TV was taken over and muted

by | November 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former owner of a Georgian TV station claims that he was forced to sell it by the former government. TV Mze (which in Georgian means 'Sun') was launched by millionaire Vano Chkhartishvili, a member of parliament before the Rose Revolution in 2003

In brief, News

NATO visit postponed to next year

by | November 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The delayed visit by NATO's Military Committee will take place in the first half of 2013. “The parties have decided that high military officials of the Alliance will visit Georgia in the first half of 2013,” the defense ministry informs, explaining

In brief, News

Gordon to visit Georgia Friday

by | November 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, is visiting Georgia Friday. Gordon will meet with government officials. According to the U.S. embassy in Georgia, he will once again underline that the U.S. is

Media, News

Rustavi 2 gets new director

by | November 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A TV channel controlled by the former Saakashvili’s government on Wednesday got a new director, who used to be former government official. Rustavi 2 is considered to have played a major role during the Rose Revolution in 2003 and used to be

News, Politics

2013 budget to focus on the social dimension

by | November 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s new government has now detailed what its priorities are by presenting a budget for next year of 7.34 billion lari, or USD 4.42 billion, which is USD 335 million more than this year’s budget. According to the 2013 budget bill, the

News

Ex-minister received death threats in prison

by | November 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The moving of former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia from one prison to another was done because other inmates had threatened to kill him, according to Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani. After Akhalaia was detained for abusing powers, illegal

In brief, News

Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook page flooded with criticism

by | November 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Facebook page has seen an influx of traffic the last week from Georgian users responding to the NATO Secretary General's recent statement about expressing concern over the detention of military and political officials in

News

Ivanishvili met Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels

by | November 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Wednesday morning, the Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels. After the meeting, they held a joint press conference. Fogh Rasmussen said they had a positive and constructive

In brief, News

Workers protest continues at Telasi

by | November 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The crisis at an energy company continued Wednesday as three employees went on hunger strike. The strike at Telasi, which supplies the capital with electricity, started weeks ago, after the election results became known. Current and former

News

Ex-minister moved to mafia prison

by | November 14, 2012

A detained former government official has been moved from a prison scandalized by revelations of torture to another prison, which is known for holding so-called thieves in law. Former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia is in detention awaiting trial for abuse of power,

Media, News

Forbes editor takes over Georgian TV station

by | November 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former editor of Forbes Georgia has been appointed as new director of Imedi TV, which used to be one of the government-controlled channels during the previous government. Shortly after the parliamentary election, the former owners of Imedi made

News

General implicated in abuse case released

by | November 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former head of Georgia's general headquarters, who was taken in for further questioning, has been released. This time Giorgi Kalandadze was released against USD 6 000 bail. The former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia is still in preliminary

In brief, News

NATO criticizes new Georgian government

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO's Parliamentary Assembly criticizes the new government for putting pressure on the public broadcaster and local government and asks it to refrain from politically motivated arrests. The resolution was passed Monday in Prague at the 58. annual

Europe, News

Two Georgian leaders continue parallel visits

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two Georgian leaders representing different political parties are continuing their visit to Brussels, holding meetings with EU and NATO officials. President Mikheil Saakashvili is Tuesday meeting Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council,

News

Ex-minister ‘locked 17 soldiers in for 3 days’

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday revealed details about additional charges that were slapped on top of an already serious abuse case against former interior minister and Saakashvili faithful Bacho Akhalaia. The former prison minister,

News

Saakashvili says NATO is critical of detentions

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili says he can’t remember having heard such a critical tone before from NATO regarding Georgia. He was responding to a statement by NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said he was

NGO news

Groups drop out of review process for political prisoners

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two human rights groups in Georgia have opted out of a working group tasked with identifying political prisoners, because they believe there is too much time pressure to handle each case in a responsible way. The working group for political

News

Thousands of prisoners to get amnesty in Georgia

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The government in Georgia is planning to give amnesty to thousands of prisoners. Some of them will be released immediately, while the rest will have their sentence reduced to half. The Georgian Dream coalition has presented a draft law in

In brief, News

Ex-minister accused of torture

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A jailed former minister was Monday handed additional charges under a section of the law which deals with torture. The torture charge against Bacho Akhalaia -- a close personal ally of President Saakashvili and former prison minister,

Society

Bus strike may be over Tuesday

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The bus strike in Tbilisi Monday appeared to be heading for a solution, as drivers promised to return to work Tuesday if a commission is formed to study their problems. The conflict has lasted five days and encompassed more than 1300 drivers

News

Ivanishvili met Barroso in Brussels

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Prime Minister today held meeting with the President of the European Commission in Brussels. José Manuel Barroso congratulated him on being appointed as prime minister and underlined the importance of his first visit to Brussels.

In brief, News

Fogh Rasmussen concerned about detentions in Georgia

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expresses concern about the detention of political and military officials in Georgia. ‘I'm extremely concerned about the development we have, not least related to recent arrests of political

News

Two Georgian leaders visit Brussels in parallel

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s prime minister and president are both in Brussels these days on separate working visits. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili left on Sunday. He has planned to meet November 12 and 13 with the president of the Euro Commission; with Stefan

In brief, News

Officers accused of abusing staff suspended

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two military officers who were detained together with a former interior minister for abuse of powers, were on Sunday suspended. Giorgi Kalandadze a month ago was appointed to the post of head of the general headquarters. November 7 he was detained

News

Jailed ex-minister’s father on the offensive

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The father of Bacho Akhalaia, the ex-minister who is jailed while awaiting trial for beating subordinates, demands an investigation of the defense minister. Bacho Akhalaia was detained November 7 for abuse of powers and illegal deprivation

News, Society

Bus strike continues as negotiations fail

by | November 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Sunday, Tbilisi bus drivers met representatives of city hall to try to solve the conflict which has brought bus transport to a standstill, but the meeting ended unsuccessfully. All drivers of yellow buses in Tbilisi are on strike for the fourth day.

In brief, News

Poti strike over

by | November 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The strike among port workers in Poti has ended, as workers were promised a 20 percent pay rise. A local correspondent for Interpressnews reports that what solved the crisis was when Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Irakli Petriashvili,

News

General charged with abusing subordinates returns to his post

by | November 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- After being arraigned for crimes carrying a penalty of up to eight years in prison, general Giorgi Kalandadze is returning to his duties as head of the general headquarters. November 7, he was detained together with the commander of the elite

News

Courts in Georgia to finally become independent

by | November 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The court system will be depoliticized, cumulative sentencing will be abolished and video recording at trials will be allowed under certain conditions. This is the decision of te new government. An appropriate bill has been prepared. The

News, Politics

Mayor’s surprise visit at government may be investigated

by | November 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The prosecutor’s office is considering to investigate the mayor of Tbilisi who feels offended that he wasn’t allowed to attend the government session on Friday, even though he didn’t have a right to attend. Georgia’s finance minister Friday

News

Saakashvili loyalist placed in scandal-engulfed prison

by | November 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former minister and Saakashvili’s loyalist thought to have been engaged in prison abuse, will serve his seven week preliminary detention at Gldani prison, where most of the torture took place. Bacho Akhalaia was prison minister from 2005 to

Society

Bus strike creating difficulties for Tbilisians

by | November 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A bus strike is making life difficult for the population in the capital. For a third day more than 1300 bus drivers have been on strike, as they joined a wave of workers' protest that erupted after the parliamentary election in October. Together with

News

NATO cancels visit because of detention of general

by | November 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A visit by NATO's Military Commission to Georgia has been postponed because of the detention of the head of the general headquarters November 7. Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Euro and Euro Atlantic Integration, said this Friday. His source

News

Ex-minister jailed for seven weeks

by | November 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi City Court has decided that Bacho Akhalaia is to be kept in pretrial detention until the next hearing in the case on December 25. Two military officers were released against a USD 12 000 bail each. The hearing started at 14:00 on Friday

In brief, News

Ivanishvili visits Brussels November 12

by | November 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's first visit abroad after assuming office will be to Brussels on November 12 to 14. After Friday’s government session, Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said Ivanishvili will be meeting with

News

29 MPs support ex-minister in abuse case

by | November 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- 29 members of parliament (MPs) have declared their support for a former government minister, claiming that the case is politically motivated and that testimonies presented by the prosecutor’s office are insufficient reason for detaining him.

News

Court hearing for ex-minister and 2 officers

by | November 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former interior minister and two military officers are appearing in court Friday for a preliminary detention hearing. Tbilisi City Court is hearing the case of Bacho Akhalia, former interior minister, Giorgi Kalandadze,

In brief, News

Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S. resigns

by | November 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's ambassador to the U.S. resigned on Thursday. A new ambassador should be presented by the new government, he says. Temur Iakobashvili, Georgia's Ambassador to the U.S., posted a note about his decision on Facebook, where he writes that

In brief, News

New Georgian PM plans NATO strategy

by | November 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's NATO integration coordinating commission held its 39. session at the government office on Thursday. Chair of the commission is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who chaired the session for the first time. The commission discussed NATO

News

Saakashvili visits families of detained officials

by | November 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Thursday visited the families of several officials who were arrested yesterday. He also had a phone conversation with another military official and the former interior minister's wife. According to the

News

Solution in worker’s rebellion at Telasi

by | November 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Agreement was achieved on Thursday between employees and management at the electric company Telasi. The management of Telasi, which supplies the capital with electricity, agreed to give 125 fired employees their jobs back and fire several in

News

Saakashvili loyalist may face a decade in jail

by | November 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former government official and Saakashvili's loyalist was today officially charged with abusing his power and illegal deprivation of freedom. Georgia's chief prosecutor's office has charged Bacho Akhalaia, former prison, defense and interior

News

Bus drivers on strike in Tbilisi

by | November 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Drivers of the capital’s yellow buses have joined a wave of strikes that has rocked Georgia since the election. Since Thursday morning they have refused to go to work as normal but protest in order to improve their work conditions and increase their salaries.

News

Ivanishvili asks for patience in military detention case

by | November 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Prime Minister says the opposition should not jump to conclusions about the recent events and call it a political game. Bidzina Ivanishvili told journalists that the detention of two military tops and a former defense minister

NGO news

Muslims under pressure in Georgian village

by | November 8, 2012

`TBILISI, DFWatch -- A lawyers group warns about religious differences in a village in western Georgia. The confrontation began on November 2 between Christian and Muslim Georgians in the village Nigvziani in the western part of the country. Controversy erupted when

News

Saakashvili’s party boycotts parliament in reaction to detentions

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The party of President Saakashvili has decided to boycott parliament because of the detention of a former minister and two top military officers. Minority leader Davit Bakradze said Wednesday that the reason his party is laying down work is

News

Saakashvili calls for respect and dialogue

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili says he is concerned by the latest events in the country and asks for respect for the rule of law and the state's interests. The Georgian leader's appeal comes the same day as his opponents who are in government

News

Nina Khatiskatsi nominated as ombudsman

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The majority in parliament has picked a former employee of Transparency International as candidate for ombudsman. Nina Khatiskatsi was fired by TI Georgia shortly before the parliamentary election, allegedly for political reasons. Who will fill

News

Saakashvili’s associates alarmed by detentions

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council says that the detention of the former interior minister and head of the General Headquarters is ‘an alarming signal'. The only legal move which can slightly simplify the situation

News

Poti Port paralyzed by strike

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- In Poti, a city on Georgia's Black Sea coast, the port is paralyzed by a strike. The port is important not only because it connects South Caucasus to the outside world but also because it is an important transit hub for the flow of goods

News

Two of Georgia’s top military detained overnight

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The head of the General Headquarters and the Commander of the Fourth Brigade were detained overnight. This follows after a former defense minister was detained hours before. All are accused of abusing their power. Giorgi Kalandadze, Head of

News

Ex minister detained in Georgia

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A strongman from the former government, associated with most of the torture cases in the prisons, was Tuesday night detained after four hours of interrogation at the prosecutor’s office. Bacho Akhalaia, a firm Saakashvili loyalist and former government official,

Economy, News

Enguri hydro power station is still on Georgian hands

by | November 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Energy Minister says Enguri hydro power station has not been sold but is the property of Georgia. He says there were negotiations regarding the facility but they were suspended. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze does not comment about

News

Former government minister to be interrogated tonight

by | November 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Bacho Akhalaia, a firm Saakashvili loyalist and former government official, has been ordered to appear at the prosecutor’s office for interrogation today at 20:30. Archil Kbilashvili, Georgia’s new Chief Prosecutor, said at a special

News

Georgian minister wants to reopen land connection with Russia

by | November 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s State Minister for Reintegration Issues says that the government should support restoring overland transportation with Russia through breakaway Abkhazia. Minister Paata Zakareishvili said this in an interview with the newspaper

News

Georgia prepares to investigate Saakashvili officials

by | November 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A loud discussion broke out in parliament today while lawmakers were trying to agree on who should chair a commission which will investigate former government officials. The National Movement Party of President Saakashvili, which is now in minority,

Economy, News

Ivanishvili practically shuts down Georgia’s Security Council

by | November 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- One of the controversial cuts Prime Minister Ivanishvili wants to make in next year's budget is to reduce funding for Georgia's National Security Council – which had a central role in protecting the country in the 2008 war – from USD 15 million

News

Ivanishvili’s emergency aid returned

by | November 6, 2012

Money donated to families affected by a severe hailstorm in July has been returned to the Prime Minister, who donated it while he was in opposition earlier this year. Bidzina Ivanishvili, a former businessman and now prime minister, whose fortune is 6 billion dollars,

News

Ombudsman candidates roasted by students

by | November 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Society for a better Society organized a meeting between three candidates for ombudsman in front of students at Tbilisi State University on November 5, 2012. Each candidate had 15 minutes to talk about their views and future plans. The rights

News, Prisoner abuse

Ex minister returns to Georgia to face criticism

by | November 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former government official seen by many as the main architect of the torture in Georgia's prisons says he has returned after leaving the country shortly after the parliamentary election. Bacho Akhalaia, who served as prison minister for three years, then defense minister for three

News, Prisoner abuse

Government claims growing prisoner unrest is staged

by | November 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The unrest in Georgia's prison system has spread to the most infamous facility in the country: Ksani prison north of Tbilisi. At No 15 Facility, as it is officially called, thousands of prisoners have gone on hunger strike demanding that the recently appointed

News

Ivanishvili claims right to appoint governors

by | November 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government in Georgia has decided that from now on the Prime Minister will appoint and present governors to the president for confirmation. Currently, this is the prerogative of the president. A governor is appointed for each region

Society

Gudaishvili Square protests continue

by | November 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Protests have reignited to protect a historic square in the old part of the Georgian capital as the square's fate is still uncertain. Saturday, groups once again gathered on Gudiashvili Square in downtown Tbilisi. The rally was directed at

In brief, News

Hillary Clinton talks to Saakashvili and Georgia’s FM

by | November 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Hillary Cliton has had a phone conversation with President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Georgia. The press office of Mikheil Saakashvili informs that main topic of his conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State on Saturday was Georgia’s progress on

News

Ivanishvili makes cuts in Saakashvili’s daily habits

by | November 4, 2012

Georgia’s Defense Minister refuses to cover the expenses to keep the president’s plane, while the prime minister calls on Mikheil Saakashvili to move out of his president’s palace and instead go to work at the government office. Friday, Defense Minister Irakli

Society

Behind the battle lines of a miners’ strike

by | November 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The miners in Georgia are not giving up as they enter their fourth week of protest in the village Chiatura. More than 3600 workers demand a substantial pay rise and improvement in their slave-like working conditions. They started protesting

News, Prisoner abuse

Rustavi prison director leaves his job

by | November 3, 2012

The director of Rustavi prison has been suspended while allegations against him of abuse are under review. But the general inspection will not fully study the situation in this prison. The prison in Rustavi, about 20 km south of the capital, started on Wednesday.

News, Prisoner abuse

Prison protest was sabotage, hints Ivanishvili

by | November 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says there are signs of sabotage at No 16 prison in Rustavi. The prison minister says a criminal investigation may be launched against the director if there is proven that violence. People with loved ones inside

News

Prisoners go on hunger strike in Rustavi

by | November 2, 2012

Prisoners in Rustavi prison have gone on hunger strike in protest against cruel treatment by staff. The new director at Rustavi Prison Number 16 has been implicated in cruel treatment of prisoners, as have some of his staff. Representatives of Georgian Young

News, Politics

Independents formally recognized as faction

by | November 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Six parliamentarians who left the former governing party of President Mikheil Saakashvili are officially recognized as a faction of independents. The National Movement Party's vote weight in the assembly thus fell from 65 to 59. But the ruling

In brief, News

Telecom investor offers more details about eavesdropping

by | November 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former owner of a telecommunication company accuses other companies of illegal eavesdropping. Mamia Sanadiradze, founder and former owner of Caucasus Online, said a few days ago that his company was subject to pressure. He said that the

News

Chiatura miners on strike descend on Tbilisi

by | November 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Workers in the mining town Chiatura are keeping up a several weeks' long protest. Part of them have moved to the capital to rally outside government bodies and the owning company's offices. The parliamentary election gave hope to workers all over

Economy, News

Interest rates will drop, says Bank Association

by | November 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The president of the Georgian Bank Association says the interest rate on loans will go down. Zurab Gvasalia said there is already a trend of falling interest rates on loans, but he thinks it is impossible to decrease the rates immediately. In

News

Ivanishvili appoints Russia relations envoy

by | November 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Ivanishvili has established a new position as Georgia's special representative for Russian relations and appointed Georgia’s former Russia ambassador to the post. Ivanishvili said at a press conference Thursday that the country

News, Politics

National Movement Party claims harrassment by Georgian Dream

by | November 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former ruling party accuses the new government of blackmailing and harassment, while the new government officials ask them to present evidence. The claims were described at a briefing in the National Movement party's

In brief, News

Ivanishvili unveils deputy ministers

by | November 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- New candidates have been unveiled for deputy ministers in the new government. Despite an offer from Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to previous deputy ministers that they may remain in their positions, only a few of them have stayed. Those

News, Prisoner abuse

Riot attempt at Rustavi Prison No 16

by | November 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prisoners in a prison south of Tbilisi Wednesday protested, demanding the new director's resignation. Prisoners claim that the director Levan Aburjania, a former policeman, threatened them with torture. Shortly before the new prison minister was approved by the new parliament,

News

Government to rent houses for socially vulnerable families

by | November 1, 2012

Tbilisi, DFWatch -- The new government wants to solve the problems for different groups in society that have broken into abandoned buildings recently. Davit Sergenko, new health minister, said Wednesday that the government is taking action to solve problems that socially vulnerable

Browse our archive by date

November 2012
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
ads
ads
ads
ads