Media

Abduction of Azerbaijani journalist sparks outrage in Tbilisi

by | May 31, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists rallied in Tbilisi on Wednesday against the apparent abduction and return to Azerbaijan of an investigative journalist who had criticized the Aliyev regime. Journalists and rights activists rallied outside the government office

News

Journalist who sought refuge in Georgia abducted to Azerbaijan

by | May 31, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--An investigative journalist who fled Azerbaijan and sought asylum in neighboring Georgia was abducted by unknown men in Tbilisi on Monday and taken across the border to his home country. Journalist Afgan Mukhtali is now being held in Baku,

News

Murder plot against Georgian patriarch allegedly revealed

by | May 29, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lawyer for the Georgian church claimed on Monday that there is a plot to assassinate the head of the church, involving high-level clerics. One of the clerics implicated in the attempt on Patriarch’s life is Metropolitan Petre Tsaava, according to

News

Opposition candidates vying to unseat unpopular Tbilisi mayor

by | May 28, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s second largest opposition party named a woman as its candidate for Tbilisi Mayor on Saturday. The European Dream party congress nominated Elene Khoshtaria (37) as mayoral candidate as political parties are gearing up for the local elections.

Interviews

Coffey: Trump’s finally come to the realization that Russia is not partner for U.S.

by | May 27, 2017

To assess the visit of NATO Parliamentary assembly to Tbilisi, Georgia, discuss future of Transatlantic relations and Pres. Trump's visit to Europe Voice of America's Anna Kalandadze spoke to Luke Coffey, Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy,

News

Georgia detains school manager connected to Gülen network

by | May 26, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has detained a manager of a private school in what appears to be a case of pressure exerted by Turkey on Georgian authorities to crack down on institutions associated with the exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. Mustafa Emre Cabuk, quality manager

Crime

State auditor shown holding pistol in bar in new online video

by | May 24, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new video of a public auditor pointing a pistol in a bar last December further undermined his claim that a recent fight with an ex-prosecutor was corruption related. The video surfaced on the Internet on Wednesday, and shows state auditor Lasha Tordia

Crime

MIA presents video, auditor maintains bar fight was corruption related

by | May 23, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs released a surveillance video and witness testimony on Monday which appeared to undermine claims by the country's top public auditor that a recent bar fight was connected to a corruption probe. But the low resolution

News

Prosecutors drop case against Georgian ECHR judge’s brother

by | May 21, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prosecutors in Georgia have dropped a case against the brother of a judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) who said the investigation was connected to her work. None Tsotsoria (center) is a judge currently serving at the European Court of Human Rights. The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) called off the probe

Crime

Georgian priest walks out on first day of his murder trial

by | May 20, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A high profile trial of a Georgian priest accused of planning to murder the patriarch’s personal secretary got off to a dramatic start Friday as the defendant left the courtroom in protest and asked his lawyers to do the same. This was the first hearing

Minorities

Gay pride film screening canceled in Tbilisi after bomb threat

by | May 20, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The screening of a gay pride film in a Tbilisi park had to be canceled Friday evening after someone called in a bomb threat. LGBT people, rights activists and others, mainly youth, had gathered in Mziuri Park for a screening of the British historical comedy

News

Georgian ECHR judge: ‘Raid of my brother’s flat was related to my job’

by | May 20, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) suspects that a police raid against her brother’s apartment was connected to her work. “I have reason to believe that [the police raid] is related to my work at the European Court of Human Rights.

News

Russia and Abkhazia establish joint center to combat organized crime

by | May 19, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Separatist authorities in Georgia's breakaway region Abkhazia signed an agreement with Russia on Thursday, establishing a joint Russian-Abkhaz coordination center in Sokhumi to combat organized crime and other serious crimes. The joint

News

UNM claims police search of judge’s brother’s flat is political pressure

by | May 19, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Georgia claims the police raided the flat of a judge's brother to put pressure on the judge after an unfavorable decision in the ECHR. Police carried out a raid Thursday night in the flat of brother of a judge who currently represents Georgia

Politics

Public meeting about new constitution interrupted by protests

by | May 18, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A public meeting in Tbilisi on Monday to discuss a set of constitutional amendments was interrupted by two different groups of protesters. The head of the organizing committee now says they will extend the hearing process with a number of extra

Minorities

Four years after violence, Tbilisi’s LGBT activists meet under tight security

by | May 18, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four years after a mob of thousands of people violently attacked them, Georgia’s LGBT community needed strict security to observe The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on Wednesday. Several

News

EU envoy sparks outrage in Tbilisi by congratulating Russia-backed separatist leader

by | May 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A European Union official congratulating the leader of a Russian-backed breakaway republic on winning the election has caused a diplomatic scandal in Tbilisi. Herbert Salber, a German diplomat who is the EU’s special representative to South Caucasus

News

Court told ex-president Saakashvili protected Girgvliani’s murderers

by | May 16, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former minister claimed Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili protected several high ranking officials from prosecution as the high-profile trial about the murder of a young bank employee in Georgia eleven years ago continued in Tbilisi on Monday.

News

Top state auditor stays away from police questioning for health reasons

by | May 15, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Georgia’s state audit office refused to be questioned by police on Monday, after alleging that a former chief prosecutor attacked him at a bar Friday night. Lasha Tordia excused himself on the grounds of his poor health condition after Friday's incident

Interviews

Alexandra Hall Hall: Georgian PM explores getting a free trade agreement with the U.S.

by | May 15, 2017

To assess the recent visit of Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to the U.S., Voice of America’s (VOA) Anna Kalandadze interviewed British diplomat and a political observer Alexandra Hall Hall.

News

State auditor says former chief prosecutor assaulted him at bar

by | May 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Georgia’s State Audit Office claims an investigation into a land plot scheme was the reason he was physically assaulted by a former chief prosecutor and his associates at a bar in Tbilisi Friday night. General Auditor Lasha Tordia (37) said he was attacked

Minorities

Batumi City Hall turns down request to build second mosque

by | May 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The city hall in Georgia's second largest city Batumi has rejected an application for permission to build a second mosque in the 150,000 strong city. In the largely Muslim city there has been a several decades long conflict about whether to allow a second mosque.

Prisoner abuse

Six former prison guards in Georgia will face trial for torture

by | May 12, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six former guards at the notorious Penitentiary No 8 in Tbilisi have been detained for alleged torture of prisoners during the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili. Legal proceedings have been launched against former Head of Legal Regimen of the same facility,

In brief

Five villages cut off from the world after river thrashes road in Georgia

by | May 12, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A rain-swelled river on Thursday cut off the only road to five villages in the northern part of Georgia, leaving the inhabitants isolated from the rest of the world. The river Vedura swelled after several days of hard rain in the Upper Svaneti region.

News

Georgia bars former Moscow mayor Luzhkov from entering

by | May 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has placed the former mayor of Moscow on its 'black list' of people barred from entering the country. Yuri Luzhkov was briefly in Georgia last weekend and the opposition called for his prosecution for violating a 2008 law. When Luzhkov’s tourist trip became

News

Protesters demand safer workplaces after four die in coal mine

by | May 10, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people were detained in Tbilisi on Tuesday during a protest in response to a mining accident that took four lives earlier the same day. The protesters from student group Auditorium #115 and trade union activists gathered in front of the

News

Two Russian bikers turn up at May 9 event in Georgia despite ban

by | May 9, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two members of the notorious Russian motorcycle gang Night Wolves turned up in Tbilisi’s Vake Park on Tuesday for the May 9 commemoration of victory over Nazism in World War II, despite the gang’s members being banned from entering Georgia.

News

Georgian opposition calls for former Moscow mayor to be punished

by | May 9, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--An otherwise uneventful tourist visit to Georgia by the former mayor of Moscow was interrupted by opposition calls for him to be 'punished'. Word spread of Yuri Luzhkov’s visit to Georgia after priest Serafim Bit-Kharibi posted photos

Opinion

To Understand Georgia’s Constitutional Reforms, Look Beyond the President

by | May 6, 2017

Georgia needs a parliament that is more pluralistic, not less. Rather than locking in Georgia’s democratic gains, the draft constitution appears likely to benefit Georgian Dream, writes Joseph Larsen, analyst at Georgian Institute of Politics. The Georgian Dream (GD)

Opinion

Constitutional Reform in Georgia – a Step Forward

by | May 6, 2017

In total, 33 amendments have been made to the Constitution of Georgia, adopted in 1995, however, only two rounds of these amendments have been of fundamental importance

Crime

Georgian priest must remain in detention until beginning of murder trial

by | May 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian priest accused of planning to poison an adviser to the patriarch is to remain in pre-trial detention. That was decided at a hearing in the Tbilisi City Court on Friday. The judge rejected all the around a dozen pleas by arch priest

News

Russian bikers denied entry to Georgia for WWII commemoration

by | May 4, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly 50 Russian pro-Kremlin bikers were stopped at the border on Wednesday as they were trying to enter Georgia in connection with an annual tour to commemorate the end of World War II. The bikers were not given an explanation for why they were denied entry,

Politics

Georgian opposition wants referendum about constitutional changes

by | May 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian opposition groups said Monday that the country’s democratic development is being reversed unless a set of constitutional amendments is stopped. The groups demand a referendum about the changes. In a declaration, the opposition listed eight

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