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News

Abkhazia appeals to UNESCO for help to save cultural monuments

By | October 5th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The de facto authorities in Abkhazia have asked the United Nation’s agency for cultural heritage, UNESCO, help protect historic buildings within territory they control. In a video published a few days ago, Georgia is accused of having a “destructive” policy […]

Six opposition activists detained outside Tbilisi City Hall

By | October 3rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia detained six opposition activists on Monday, as supporters of the National Movement rallied outside Tbilisi City Hall to demand an immediate halt in the handover of two prime land plots to a company owned […]

Ethnic Armenians clash with police in south of Georgia

By | October 2nd, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Ethnic Armenians clashed with police in a village in the south of Georgia on Saturday after locals attempted to place a religious stone in the yard of Kumurdo temple. The tense situation in the village Kumurdo calmed down on Sunday but the brief street […]

Police evict city assembly members as Tbilisi land plots handed to Ivanishvili

By | September 29th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Two candidates for Tbilisi mayor were among opposition politicians and activists who were forcibly dragged out of the city council on Friday before a proposal was approved that will hand over two land plots to a company owned by former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. […]

Georgian parliament passes new Constitution as opposition walks out in protest

By | September 26th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian parliament almost unanimously adopted a new constitution on Tuesday as opposition factions walked out and said the day will mark the establishment of one-party rule in the country. […]

Georgia’s president refuses to convene parliament to pass revamped Constitution

By | September 25th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Giorgi Margvelashvili has turned down a request by the ruling party to call an unscheduled session of parliament in order to adopt the new Constitution, citing the threat of one-party rule. “The president will not convene an extraordinary session,” […]

Georgia’s constitutional reform gets cautious thumbs up from CoE

By | September 23rd, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Venice Commission draws an overall positive conclusion about Georgia’s latest constitutional reform in an assessment published Friday, but the Council of Europe experts are still concerned about the lack of consensus among the country’s largest political parties. […]

Azerbaijani agents shadowing opposition journalists in Tbilisi

By | September 20th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Layla Mustafayeva. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The exiled wife of jailed Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli says she fears there may be a new wave of harassment against herself and other critics of the regime of Ilham Aliyev. Mukhtarli was abducted in downtown Tbilisi on May 31 and taken across the border […]

David Lynch to found film festival and cinematography institute in Georgia

By | September 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–American film director David Lynch is coming to Georgia in November to launch a film festival and open a new institute of cinematography named after him. The iconic director, who is known for the films Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, […]

Openly lesbian woman to run for public office in Georgia, a first

By | September 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Nino Bolkvadze. TBILISI, DFWatch–For the first time, an openly lesbian woman will run for political office in Georgia. Nino Bolkvadze, a professional lawyer, was nominated Friday by the Republican Party to compete for a seat in the Tbilisi city council, the Sakrebulo, this October. […]

Georgian PM denounces Saakashvili as a sad reminder of the past after Ukraine border stunt

By | September 13th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Saakashvili is Georgia’s ‘very sad past’ says Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili while commenting recent developments in Ukraine. “Mikheil Saakashvili is the political past of our country, a very sad past, and it is very unfortunate, […]

Georgian ex-president burst through police block and into Ukraine

By | September 11th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–After trying for several hours, Mikheil Saakashvili finally managed to get into Ukraine Sunday evening, with the help of his supporters. Currently he is in Lviv and reportedly plans to travel to Kiev. “I don’t plan to oust anyone, I plan only to legally defend my interests,” […]

Saakashvili breaks through Ukraine border assisted by crowd of supporters

By | September 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mikheil Saakashvili addressing the media before boarding the train. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili broke through the border to Ukraine on Sunday, aided by a crowd of supporters. At first, the train he was riding from Poland, bound for the Ukrainian city of Lviv, was held at the border in Przemysl, […]

Saakashvili confirms pledge to enter Ukraine on September 10

By | September 7th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Mikheil Saakashvili made the pledge during a webcast from the Polish capital in mid August 2017. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has repeated a pledge made three weeks ago to return to Ukraine on September 10, despite the risk of being detained and extradited to Georgia where he may face criminal charges and possible imprisonment. […]

Georgian priest sentenced to nine years in prison for murder attempt

By | September 5th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A Tbilisi court on Tuesday sentenced a high ranking cleric to nine years in prison for trying to kill the patriarch’s personal secretary with poison. The case has sent shock waves through Georgian society and revealed divisions within one […]

CoE’s Buquicchio disappointed by Georgian stalemate on new constitution

By | September 5th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The head of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio is disappointed by the lack of progress on Georgia’s constitutional reform. The commission president took to Twitter on Monday to react to a lack of agreement between […]

52 tourists rescued in Georgia’s mountains this summer

By | September 1st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Fifty-two foreign tourists got lost in Georgia in the period from June 1 to August 17, according to figures published Friday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and reported by Interpressnews. Everyone was rescued safe and sound except two German nationals, […]

Another forest fire breaks out in different part of Georgia’s Borjomi national park

By | August 30th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Palitra TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Just days after a massive wildfire was contained inside one of Georgia’s national parks, another one has flared up in another area of the same park. This time, it’s the resort area of Abastumani which has been hit by forest fire. The affected site is not far from […]

Georgia national park forest fire reportedly contained

By | August 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (SKNews.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–A wildfire which destroyed over 100 hectares of endemic forest in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park ‘has almost been extinguished’, the Georgian prime minister said Friday evening. “In the evening, I personally visited all critical locations with ministers. […]

Wildfire has destroyed 100ha of forest in central Georgia

By | August 24th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(SKNews.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–A wildland fire is still raging across a large nature park and key tourist destination in central Georgia, but authorities believe the main pockets will be contained by Friday unless their efforts are made difficult by strong wind. “We currently don’t have new […]

Massive wildfire in Georgia’s Borjomi National Park

By | August 22nd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–A massive wildfire was raging on Monday in Borjomi, a forested nature park and important tourist destination in Georgia. The fire started Sunday in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park but intensified Monday evening when it spread to over 6 hectares in the hills above […]

Saakashvili announces plan to return to Ukraine via Poland

By | August 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian-born former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili announced Wednesday the time and date of his return to Ukraine despite being stripped of that country’s citizenship. Saakashvili, who recently launched […]

Georgian minister rejects “offer” to extradite Saakashvili in apparent prank

By | August 14th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A prank by two Russian pro-Kremlin bloggers has led to calls for the resignation of Georgia’s interior minister for rejecting a fake offer by Ukraine to extradite former President Mikheil Saakashvili. A voice sounding like Georgia’s minister of internal affairs […]

Fire devastates mountain overlooking Tbilisi

By | August 9th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(imedinews.ge) A massive fire spread on the slopes of Mtatsminda, a mountain overlooking Tbilisi on Tuesday late evening. […]

22-year-old woman dies from suspected drug use at music festival

By | August 6th, 2017|Categories: Youth|Tags: , , |

(GEM Fest/Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia have brought in stricter anti-drug measures at a youth festival after a 22 year old woman tragically died. The female bank employee became ill Friday after allegedly ingesting the drug ‘bio’. She was rushed to hospital but died 8 hours later. […]

Georgian soldier killed in Afghanistan

By | August 4th, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: |

Veruli Bebiashvili, mother of the deceased. (Palitra TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian soldier has died in Afghanistan while out on patrol near Bagram Airbase, 60km north of Kabul. Lance sergeant Mdinari Bebiashvili (25) was killed as two suicide bombers attacked his convoy Thursday evening. The platoon that was hit consisted […]

US Vice President Mike Pence visiting Georgia

By | August 1st, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: , , , |

US Vice President Mike Pence arrived at Tbilisi airport Monday evening, accompanied by his wife Karen. (Photo published by the US Embassy in Tbilisi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Tbilisi on Monday amid a US-led military exercise, which for a moment brought a US military convoy within close proximity of Russian troops stationed in the breakaway region South Ossetia. […]

Saakashvili threatens with new revolution in Ukraine

By | July 30th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s former president, who was recently stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, vowed Saturday to return to Kyiv and oust President Poroshenko, his one-time ally. Mikheil Saakashvili was speaking to Georgian TV station Rustavi 2 from […]

Georgian MP fined for wearing pistol at rally against extremism

By | July 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Otar Kakhidze appeared with a pistol in his belt during a recent rally against extremism. TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian opposition member of parliament was fined 200 USD on Wednesday for demonstratively wearing a pistol in his belt during a rally against far right extremists. Otar Kakhidze, a lawyer who represents European Georgia in the national assembly, […]

Former president of Georgia stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship

By | July 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Mikheil Saakashvili in November, 2016. TBILISI, DFWatch–Ukraine has stripped former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili of his citizenship, shortly after a visit to Georgia by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. A Ukrainian member of parliament first reported it on Facebook, and the information […]

Nationalists hurl eggs and bottles at European Georgia march

By | July 23rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Plastic bottles, eggs, brooms and other objects were hurled at people marching through the center of Tbilisi Sunday evening to protest against what they call ‘Russian fascism in Georgia’. The march was organized by political party European Georgia, […]

Georgian opposition TV claims tax debt used to silence its voice

By | July 21st, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia. TBILISI, DFWatch–The director of Georgia’s biggest opposition TV company claims the government is using tax laws to to get it off air ahead of the local elections in October. “TV company Rustavi 2 is again under threat […] The state is seemingly preparing for a decisive blow […]

Independent candidate for mayor vows to halt Tbilisi building spree

By | July 21st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Aleko Elisashvili, the popular independent candidate for Tbilisi mayor, vows to halt an ongoing construction boom that is rapidly changing the old city’s aesthetic looks. TBILISI, DFWatch–The independent candidate for Tbilisi mayor Aleko Elisashvili vows to suspend all construction projects in Tbilisi until there have been carried out comprehensive studies into all the schemes to see whether they are compatible with the urban fabric of the Georgian capital. […]

Trump picks new Afghanistan ambassador who served in Georgia

By | July 21st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

John Bass at the opening of the Batumi Center for Civic Engagement April 5, 2012. He was – U.S. Ambassador to Georgia at the time. (Archil Talakvadze/Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–US President Donald Trump has nominated former Ambassador to Georgia John Bass as new ambassador to Afghanistan. Bass currently serves as the US ambassador to Turkey. From 2009 to 2012, he served as ambassador to Georgia. He was nominated […]

Georgia suspends two officials while investigating journalist’s abduction

By | July 21st, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili said the two officials are suspended to eliminate all suspicion. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia has suspended two high ranking officials to ensure the impartiality of an investigation into the alleged abduction of an Azerbaijani investigative journalist. The decision comes after immense pressure from human rights groups, […]

German Greens MEP backs Gülen school official’s plea against extradition

By | July 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Rebecca Harms. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The head of the Greens faction in the EU parliament calls on Georgia not to extradite a school manager to Turkey. “To be a teacher is not a crime,” said Rebecca Harms, a German politician who is current head of the Greens-European Free Alliance in the EU parliament. […]

Rally in Tbilisi to demand ‘illegal’ immigrants kicked out

By | July 15th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Organizers of the rally, including Sandro Bregadze (right), hold an icon of King Davit IV Aghmashenebeli. (Facebook/Nini Ketelauri.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Nationalist groups in Georgia mobilized supporters Friday for an anti-immigration rally in the center of Tbilisi. Activists carrying flags and slogans for nationalist causes demanded ‘illegal’ immigrants kicked out of the country and called on authorities to bring […]

Anti-immigration activists plan rally in Tbilisi Friday evening

By | July 14th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The rally is being organized by Sandro Bregadze. TBILISI, DFWatch–Nationalists in Georgia plan an anti-immigration rally in the center of Tbilisi Friday evening. The rally, which will take place on Aghmashenebeli Avenue at 8pm, will take aim at illegal immigration, especially from Muslim countries. One of their demands is to close down […]

Constitutional Court overturns ban on gay men donating blood – again

By | July 13th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Constitutional Court has overturned a ban on donation of blood by men who have had sex with other men. The lawsuit to lift the ban was filed by LGBT rights activists Gocha Gabodze and Levan Berianidze. The ban on donating blood for ‘a man who has had a sexual […]

Detained Gülen school director to ask for asylum to avoid extradition

By | July 12th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A detained Gülen school official is asking for asylum in Georgia in order to avoid extradition to Turkey, where he may face brutal and inhumane treatment, according to his lawyers. Georgia detained Mustafa Emre Cabuk in May. He is one of the managers of Demirel […]

Five foreign tourists rescued by helicopter in Caucasus mountain range

By | July 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Five foreign tourists were rescued by helicopter from a mountain plateau in the main Caucasus range Saturday after being isolated by a flooded stream. Personnel from the Emergency Management Agency used helicopters belonging to the border […]

Separatists deny leader injured in car crash visiting other breakaway region

By | July 8th, 2017|Categories: News|

The de facto presidents of Georgia’s two breakaway territories: Raul Khajimba (Abkhazia) (left) and Anatoly Bibilov (South Ossetia). (Photo published by the office of Abkhazia’s de facto president.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The separatists in one of Georgia’s two breakaway regions denied a report in Russian media that their leader was injured in a car crash Saturday while visiting another separatist region. Anatoly Bibilov, the de facto president of the tiny enclave South Ossetia, […]

Indian citizen refused entry to Georgia twice without being given a reason

By | July 6th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–An Indian businessman was refused entry to Georgia for the second time on Wednesday, after a similar incident two days earlier. A lawyer for Akbar Khan Qureshi said the young Indian entrepreneur again was turned away in the border control at Tbilisi airport […]

Two men rescued by helicopter from flooded river in Samegrelo

By | July 6th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Two men were rescued by a police helicopter in Western Georgia on Wednesday. The two got stuck in the middle of a flooded river near the village Khabume in Samegrelo. Local rescue workers were unable to bring the two men out of the river Khobistskali, […]

2,500 sqm destroyed by fire at Tbilisi’s largest market

By | July 3rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A fire tore through Georgia’s largest outdoors market Sunday evening, leaving at least four people hospitalized, including one firefighter, and devastating up to 2,500 square meters of commercial space, officials said. The fire at Eliava bazaar in Tbilisi […]

PACE to discuss dismissing its president in October

By | June 30th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

PACE President Pedro Agramunt. (Council of Europe.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will discuss a proposal to dismiss its chairperson in early October after a motion was tabled on Friday. The motion to dismiss PACE President Pedro Agramunt was backed by 158 out of the 636 member […]

CoE official dismayed over Georgia’s constitution ‘crisis’

By | June 30th, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: , , |

Gianni Buquicchio. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Council of Europe official is in despair over the way Georgian leaders have handled the drafting of a new constitution, calling the debacle a ‘crisis’. “I’m disappointed and become more and more disappointed for every hour,” head of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio […]

Georgia’s local elections slated for end of October

By | June 27th, 2017|Categories: Elections|Tags: , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgians will go to the polls to elect new mayors and local governments in the end of October, President Giorgi Margvelashvili announced on Tuesday. The local elections will be held in the ‘end the third week of October’, the president said, […]

Popular TV host to represent opposition UNM in Tbilisi mayoral race

By | June 26th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , , , |

Zaal Udumashvili launched his bid for the mayor post on Monday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s main opposition party is hoping that a popular news anchor will bring it back to power in the politically important position of Tbilisi mayor. The nomination of Zaal Udumashvili, host of the main news program on Georgia’s largest TV channel Rustavi 2, […]

Georgian president slams blueprint for new Constitution

By | June 24th, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–President Giorgi Margvelashvili rejects a draft new Constitution presented by the ruling GD government because it is not based on a consensus. “The entire Georgian society believes we need a consensus document, but Georgian Dream […]

Azerbaijani RFE/RL journalist detained, barred from leaving country

By | June 22nd, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , , |

Kamran Mahmudov (right) pictured next to his Azerbaijani colleague Afgan Mukhtarli, whose abduction in Tbilisi in May caused a public outcry in Georgia. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A journalist at Radio Free Europe’s now closed office in Azerbaijan was detained on Thursday and told that he cannot leave the country. Kamran Mahmudov, a former producer for RFE/RL, was detained at the border on the way into Georgia and taken to the […]

Georgia’s ruling GD party demurring on electoral reform

By | June 19th, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: , |

Speaker of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling party will defer until 2024 to fulfill one of its main promises: to overhaul an election system that has favored the incumbent force for decades. The system of single-mandate districts, so-called majoritarians, was supposed to have been phased out […]

Georgia’s parliament approves immediate halt in sale of farm land to foreigners

By | June 17th, 2017|Categories: Economy|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian parliament decided Friday to declare a temporary ban on the sale of agricultural lands to aliens until a constitutional ban comes into force. 87 MPs voted in favor of the amendment to the Law on Ownership of Agricultural Land, amid fierce pressure […]

European Parliament calls on Georgia to investigate journalist’s disappearance

By | June 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The EU Parliament calls on Georgia to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of an Azerbaijani investigative journalist in the center of Tbilisi two weeks ago. MEPs further urge Baku to immediately release Afgan Mukhtarli and drop all charges. […]

Rappers whose arrest sparked review of drug policy released on bail

By | June 13th, 2017|Categories: Youth|Tags: , , , |

Mishka Mgaloblishvili. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Appeals Court in Georgia released on bail two rappers whose controversial arrest on drug charges may have hastened a review of the drug policy. The court released the two on bail Monday after their arrest June 10 for possession of between 1.5 and 2.3 grams […]

PM responds to groundswell of support for Georgia’s jailed rappers

By | June 11th, 2017|Categories: Youth|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s prime minister promised to soften the country’s drug policy Saturday evening as a large crowd gathered in the capital Tbilisi in support of two detained rappers who claim drugs were planted on them by police as revenge for a music video. […]

Tbilisi on edge as strong rain brings fear of ‘another 2015’

By | June 11th, 2017|Categories: Environment|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Strong rain with hail hit Tbilisi and some other parts of Georgia on Saturday, causing damage to cars, infrastructure and crops. As some Tbilisians feared a repeat of the tragic flooding in 2015, the police blocked Vake-Saburtalo Road in Tbilisi following advice […]

Azerbaijani MP claims Georgian intel collaborated on journalist’s abduction

By | June 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Elman Nasirov. TBILISI, DFWatch–A member of Azerbaijan’s parliament claims Georgian and Azerbaijani intelligence agencies collaborated on abducting a journalist in Tbilisi and send him back to Baku to face jail. Elman Nasirov, a member of Azerbaijan’s national assembly Mili Meclis, […]

Two rappers caught with ecstasy claim police planted drugs on them

By | June 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The arrest of two rappers for drug crime in Georgia on Friday adds fuel to criticism against the country’s law enforcement agencies, which are already under fire for suspected involvement in the mysterious abduction out of the country of an Azerbaijani journalist eleven days ago. […]

CEO of Georgia’s embattled opposition television station resigns

By | June 9th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

Nika Gvaramia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Rustavi 2 director general Nika Gvaramia resigns. Gvaramia’s resignation was reported yesterday by several Georgian media outlets and confirmed Friday morning by one of the TV company’s editors who spoke to DFWatch on condition of anonymity. […]

Georgia’s ruling party bans sale of agricultural land to foreigners

By | June 9th, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling party has decided to ban the sale of agricultural land to foreigners by adding a clause to the Constitution. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced Thursday that a passage will be added to the Constitution to ban the sale of land […]

Georgian world boxing champion arrested in the US

By | June 9th, 2017|Categories: Sport|Tags: , , |

WBO world middleweight champion Avtandil Kurtsidze. TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian world boxing champion has been arrested in the United States along with a martial arts practicioner, also from Georgia, for alleged ties to a Russian crime syndicate. Avtandil Khurtsidze, who currently holds a World Boxing Organization middleweight title, […]

Earthquake of magnitude 5.1 in eastern Georgia

By | June 8th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 rattled Georgia late Wednesday evening with only minor damage reported in one village. The quake occurred at about 10.30pm with the epicenter near Dedoplistskaro in Kakheti, 100km east of Tbilisi, […]

TV news anchor may join race for new Tbilisi mayor

By | June 7th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , , |

Zaal Udumashvili speaking at a demonstration in Tbilisi in February, 2017. (Rustavi 2.) Independent candidate Aleksandre Elisashvili may also have a chance. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A news anchor on Georgia’s biggest private television channel has confirmed that he may run for mayor of Tbilisi as a candidate for the biggest opposition party UNM. The entry of Zaal Udumashvili, host of the evening news on Rustavi 2, […]

Protesters put bags over their heads as parliament silent on Mukhtarli case

By | June 6th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

(Liberali.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian journalists covered their heads with plastic sacks during a meeting of the parliament’s human rights committee on Tuesday to protest the abduction of an Azerbaijani investigative journalist in Tbilisi. But the committee did not discuss […]

Georgia’s ruling party to tap energy minister as new Tbilisi mayor

By | June 6th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

Kakhi Kaladze. (Ministry of Energy.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The ruling party in Georgia is expected to name Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze as its candidate for new Tbilisi mayor, to replace the incumbent Davit Narmania. Georgian Dream MPs and members of government met on Sunday behind closed […]

Georgian leaders send condolences to victims of London attacks

By | June 4th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s president and prime minister have expressed their condolences to the families of victims of the recent London terror attack, which left seven dead and over 48 injured. “I am deeply outraged over the brutal terrorist incidents in #London. […]

Georgian authorities deny involvement in abduction of Azerbaijani journalist

By | June 1st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s head of government Thursday denied that his country’s authorities had been involved when a journalist was abducted three days earlier in Tbilisi and delivered into the hands of Azerbaijani police for criminal prosecution. […]

Abduction of Azerbaijani journalist sparks outrage in Tbilisi

By | May 31st, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

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 […]

Journalist who sought refuge in Georgia abducted to Azerbaijan

By | May 31st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

 Afgan Mukhtali 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, […]

Murder plot against Georgian patriarch allegedly revealed

By | May 29th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

 Edisher Karchava. (ambebi.ge) 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 […]

Opposition candidates vying to unseat unpopular Tbilisi mayor

By | May 28th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Elene Khoshtaria was nominated by European Georgia as candidate for Tbilisi mayor. (Facebook.) 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. […]

Georgia detains school manager connected to Gülen network

By | May 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

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 […]

State auditor shown holding pistol in bar in new online video

By | May 24th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , , |

Lasha Tordia (far left) apparently brandishing a pistol at PAM Club last December.  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 […]

MIA presents video, auditor maintains bar fight was corruption related

By | May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , |

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 […]

Prosecutors drop case against Georgian ECHR judge’s brother

By | May 21st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

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 […]

Georgian priest walks out on first day of his murder trial

By | May 20th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , |

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 […]

Gay pride film screening canceled in Tbilisi after bomb threat

By | May 20th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

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 […]

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

By | May 20th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

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. […]

Russia and Abkhazia establish joint center to combat organized crime

By | May 19th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

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 […]

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

By | May 19th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Nona Tsotsoria (center) at a meeting with Supreme Court judges in Latvia. (Photo published by the Latvian government.) 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 […]

Public meeting about new constitution interrupted by protests

By | May 18th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

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 […]

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

By | May 18th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

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 […]

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

By | May 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Herbert Salber (left). (Photo published by South Ossetia’s de facto president.) 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 […]

Court told ex-president Saakashvili protected Girgvliani’s murderers

By | May 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Sandro Girgvliani was 28 years old when he was murdered in January, 2006. Irakli Okruashvili. (GPB.) 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. […]

Top state auditor stays away from police questioning for health reasons

By | May 15th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Otar Partskhaladze. (Rustavi 2.) 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 […]

State auditor says former chief prosecutor assaulted him at bar

By | May 13th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Lasha Tordia. (Interpressnews.) 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 […]

Batumi City Hall turns down request to build second mosque

By | May 13th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

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. […]

Six former prison guards in Georgia will face trial for torture

By | May 12th, 2017|Categories: Prisoner abuse|Tags: , |

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, […]

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

By | May 12th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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. […]

Georgia bars former Moscow mayor Luzhkov from entering

By | May 11th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

In this photo from 2006, Yuri Luzhkov (right) is seen in Abkhazia with Abkhaz and Russian politicians. (Alexander Popov/TASS.) 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 […]

Protesters demand safer workplaces after four die in coal mine

By | May 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

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 […]

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

By | May 9th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

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. […]

Georgian opposition calls for former Moscow mayor to be punished

By | May 9th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

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 […]

Georgian priest must remain in detention until beginning of murder trial

By | May 6th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: |

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 […]

Russian bikers denied entry to Georgia for WWII commemoration

By | May 4th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

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, […]

Georgian opposition wants referendum about constitutional changes

By | May 2nd, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

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 […]

Russian biker gang Night Wolves plans Georgia trip

By | April 29th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Russian biker gang Night Wolves plans to visit Georgia to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II. The gang is known for its support of the Kremlin and leader Alexander Zaldostanov (“the Surgeon”) has appeared at many […]

Georgian priest on trial for planning to murder patriarch’s adviser

By | April 28th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A priest is being put on trial in Georgia for planning to use poison to murder a close adviser to Patriarch Ilia II, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church. As the case files were handed over to the court on Thursday, the Prosecutor General’s Office wrote in a statement that […]

Woman found strangled, ex-husband arrested as suspect

By | April 26th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A mother of four was found strangled in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Police suspect her ex-husband who was arrested soon after. Miranda Vacheishvili (40) was apparently strangled with a lead wire. She was living in an uptown district of the capital, and had complained […]

Georgia’s auto park continued 8% growth trend in 2016

By | April 24th, 2017|Categories: Economy|Tags: , |

TBILISi, DFWatch–The number of cars in Georgia grew 8 percent in 2016, continuing a trend of steady expansion of the nation’s auto park of mostly older vehicles. The growth in 2016 was to 1,125, which is 8 percent, with German carmakers retaining their leading positions. […]

Pregnant woman among five killed in car crash near Kutaisi, Georgia

By | April 23rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A pregnant woman was among the five who were killed in a horrendous road accident along a highway in western Georgia on Sunday. The accident happened at night, along a highway near Kutaisi in the west of the country. First two cars collided head-on, […]

Georgia inches closer to one-party rule with new draft Constitution

By | April 23rd, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

A meeting of the Constitutional Commission. In the center Irakli Kobakhidze, parliament’s speaker, who was commission chair. (Pia.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is moving closer to one-party rule, opposition groups warn, as a new round of constitutional amendments was approved by a commission on Saturday. Georgians are no strangers to changing their Constitution, but the latest set of amendments  […]

Georgian MP injured after colleague throws ashtray, hits wrong person

By | April 19th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , , , |

(1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A member of the Georgian parliament was lightly injured on Wednesday, after a verbal and physical confrontation that led to an ashtray being hurled at his face. Otar Kakhidze was accidentally hit by an ashtray during a confrontation […]

Iran’s FM Zarif visiting Georgia

By | April 17th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif began a two day visit to Georgia on Monday. Zarif will meet with his Georgian counterpart as well as the president, the prime minister and the minister of economy and sustainable development. […]

Georgian Airways plane rolls off runway at Moscow airport

By | April 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–No-one was injured when a passenger jet belonging to Georgian Airways went past the end of the runway at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on Sunday after landing. The Boeing-737 had just arrived from Tbilisi with 106 passengers and six crew members on board. […]

Russia’s FM Lavrov to visit Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia

By | April 14th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov. (Kremlin.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit the Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia next week to open a new Russian embassy and meet with the local leadership. Lavrov’s working visit will start April 18 with the official opening of a new Russian embassy […]

Georgian priest suspected of murder suing government for unfair trial

By | April 13th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A priest awaiting trial for murder is suing Georgia at the European Court of Human Rights, claiming the country is depriving him of a fair trial. Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze is  accused of planning to poison a member of the Georgian patriarch’s inner circle. […]

Georgia to get rid of its SU-25 in favor of drones and helicopters

By | April 12th, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: , , , |

Georgian Sukhoi SU-25 “Frogfoot”. (Marcus Fülber/Wikimedia.) Unmanned attack helicopter produced by Delta. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is getting rid of its Soviet era Su-25 attack aircraft, and will instead rely on military helicopters and drones, the country’s defense minister said. Su-25 is a severely outdated aircraft which requires spare parts that are produced in Russia, […]

South Ossetia declares de facto presidential election valid

By | April 10th, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: , |

Anatoly Bibilov, a veteran of the 2008 war, has claimed victory in the election for new de facto leader of South Ossetia, a small Russian-backed breakaway region of Georgia. TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetia’s de facto authorities have declared the election for a new leader of the separatist region valid. According to latest news, assembly speaker Anatoly Bibilov is in the lead. He has already declared victory, but it is still not known whether he will get more than 50 percent, […]

Georgian president accuses ruling GD of stalling democratic reforms

By | April 7th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Friday slammed the governing GD party for dragging its feet on the way to further democratic reforms and claimed there is a ‘crisis’ in the justice system. The president launched the broadside during […]

Bomb scare causes evacuation of Metekhi Bridge

By | April 5th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A false bomb alert caused a bridge close to a restaurant district in Tbilisi to be evacuated Wednesday afternoon. Passers-by noticed a suspicious suitcase on the sidewalk of Metekhi Bridge at around 6pm. Police sealed off the tourist destination, […]

Ex-official brutally attacked in Tbilisi

By | April 4th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Facebook/Eliso Kiladze.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Unknown assailants brutally beat a former interior ministry official in Tbilisi Monday morning. The two masked men assaulted Gela Khvedelidze, a former deputy interior minister, close to his home in the center of Tbilisi, as he was leaving his flat. […]

Rustavi 2 web domain hijacked by former owners

By | April 3rd, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s embattled opposition TV company Rustavi 2 has lost control over its web domain and has had to switch to a different address to stay online. In a statement posted online on its new address, Rustavi 2 blamed former owner David Dvali […]

Former vice speaker of parliament found guilty of embezzlement

By | April 2nd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Rusudan Kervalishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former vice speaker of parliament in Georgia has been sentenced to four years in prison. Rusudan Kervalishvili (62), who served as vice speaker of parliament in 2008-2012 representing the National Movement, was detained inside the courtroom after the verdict. […]

Georgia isn’t implementing law it passed in return for visa-free travel to Europe

By | April 2nd, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: , , |

Thousands of Orthodox Christians attacked gay rights activists in Tbilisi on May 17, 2013. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia passed a law against discrimination three years ago, and in return the European Union gave its citizens visa-free travel to Europe. But the local human rights watchdog now says the anti-discrimination law is not being fully implemented. […]

Too young to tie the knot

By | March 30th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Seven of Taso Tsatiashvili’s daughers were married before they turned 18. (DFWatch.) IORMUGHANLO, DFWatch–Although Georgia has brought in a more restrictive marriage law, the problems of child marriage and arranged engagements persist, especially in areas with a minority population. A study carried out by the United Nations Population […]

Georgia detains Ukrainian ex-official linked to Yanukovich

By | March 29th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Veteran energy ministry official Igor Kiriushin (59) is accused of embezzlement of over 2 billion hryvnia. (Kievgrad.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An ally of the exiled former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich has been detained in Tbilisi by Interpol on suspicion of corruption. Igor Kiriushin (59), a veteran official at the Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy, was detained at Tbilisi airport on Saturday […]

Georgians celebrate start of visa-free travel to Europe

By | March 28th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

From left to right: PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Irakli Kobakhidze, Mamuka Mdinaradze, Lasha Abashidze. (Interpressnews.) (Interpressnews.) (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There were celebrations in the capital Tbilisi on Monday as Georgian nationals may travel without a visa to Europe’s vast borderless Schengen area from March 28. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili was among government officials who attended a two […]

Rustavi 2 owners offer to hand shares over to staff

By | March 25th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The owners of Georgia’s biggest opposition TV station have offered to hand over a controlling stake in the company to its staff. The brothers Giorgi and Levan Karamanishvili published an open letter to the staff of Rustavi 2 staff on Friday, offering them shares in the embattled TV company. […]

Activists claim police are planting drugs on government critics

By | March 23rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Among the protestere was Ana Margvelashvili, daughter of the president of Georgia. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The daughter of the president of Georgia claims police framed her friend because he has been involved in political work for the president. It used to be an oft-heard story during the Saakashvili presidency: regime critics who are set up by police [...]

11-year-old girl killed by car in Tbilisi

By | March 22nd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Ministry of Internal Affairs.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An 11 year old girl was killed in a car crash on the outskirts of Tbilisi on Tuesday. The tragic accident occurred in the morning hours Tuesday on Aghmashenebeli Lane on the northern outskirts of the city. The car, presumably a BMW, […]

Houses damaged, trees overturned by overnight storm in Tbilisi

By | March 21st, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Strong wind hit Tbilisi Monday evening, uprooting tens of trees and damaging houses and street signs. Monday night at 10pm, the wind reached a speed of up to 32 meters per second in the capital. This qualifies as a hurricane, […]

Georgian president vetoes controversial surveillance bill

By | March 20th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

(DF Watch) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday vetoed a surveillance bill which civil society groups claim does not go far enough in reining in the powers of the secret police. Also opposition parties have criticized the bill. They suspect that it will give […]

Eight more detained as blame game continues after ‘parking fine riot’

By | March 19th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police detained eight more people on criminal charges on Saturday as the blame game continues for last weekend’s violent riot in Batumi. Altogether, the number of detainees has now reached 100, all of them men, the local newspaper Batumelebi reports.   […]

Hungarian tourist killed by avalanche in Georgia

By | March 18th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

A screenshot from Imedi TV showing the tracks where the victim skied along with a group of tourists near Gudauri. TBILISI, DFWatch–A Hungarian tourist died in an avalanche in Georgia on Friday while skiing near Gudauri, a mountain resort north of Tbilisi. Authorities did not identity the victim beyond describing him as a man aged around 40. The accident occurred when a group of tourists […]

Spanish police detain 48 in raids against Georgian robbery gangs

By | March 17th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , |

(National Police Corps of Spain.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Spanish police have arrested dozens of Georgian nationals suspected of home burglaries in an elaborate operation said to be targeting ‘the Georgian mafia’. The police released information on Thursday but operations were carried out earlier, […]

Six more arrests in wake of Batumi ‘parking fine riot’

By | March 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia arrested six more people on Thursday who are suspected of having been involved in a riot in the Black Sea city Batumi last weekend that started with a disagreement over a parking fine. The six are expected to appear in court on Friday. […]

Two drug arrests of UNM-linked youth raise calls of politicized justice

By | March 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Khatia Dekanoidze as head of Ukraine’s national police. TBILISI, DFWatch–Two young men related to government critics were arrested in Tbilisi on Tuesday on drug charges. Their mothers think it was politically motivated. One of the detainees is the son of Khatia Dekanoidze, a justice specialist who introduced Georgian experience with police reforms to Ukraine […]

Sen. McCain encourages Georgia to preserve pluralistic media

By | March 15th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

Georgian court's decision regarding Rustavi 2 looks like 'an attempt to silence opposition voices', US Senator John McCain said to Voice of America's Georgian service. "I am deeply concerned that the Georgian Supreme Court’s decision regarding Rustavi 2 appears to be an attempt to silence opposition voices in the press and curtail the country’s vibrant, pluralistic, [...]

Rioters will be strictly punished, Georgia’s interior minister warns

By | March 13th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Clean up work after a riot Saturday night and Sunday morning in Batumi. (Interpressnews.) Those responsible will be strictly punished, Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili warned. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Most who were detained in a riot in Batumi, Georgia have now been released, but the interior minister warned that they will be strictly punished. Seven people are still incarcerated after a court placed them in preliminary administrative detention, […]

Government and opposition trade accusations over Batumi riot

By | March 12th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

From left to right: Batumi Mayor Giorgi Ermakov, PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili and head of the Adjara government Zurab Pataradze in Batumi on Sunday. (Interpressnews). (Batumelebi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government and the largest opposition party in Georgia are blaming each other for being behind a riot that shook the Black Sea resort city Batumi last night, injuring dozens and leaving the burgeoning tourist destination in disarray. A special unit […]

PM Kvirikashvili blames ‘destructive political forces’ for Batumi riot

By | March 12th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Sporadic rioting continued into the night in Batumi, a port city on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. (Batumelebi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–“A common incident has been utilized by destructive political forces to escalate the situation,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated at an emergency briefing at about 5 am on Sunday appealing the crowd in Batumi to calm down. “Unfortunately, those forces […]

Around 20 police and protesters injured in riot over parking fine in Georgia

By | March 12th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Around twenty police and protesters are injured after a riot broke out in Batumi, Georgia, Saturday evening over a disagreement about a parking fine. The riot began after a man refused to accept a fine for parking in the wrong place […]

Escalating rhetoric between Georgia’s parliament and president

By | March 9th, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: , |

Speaker of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A meeting summoned by the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has become the latest episode in the downward spiral of deteriorating relations between him and the ruling Georgian Dream party. On Thursday, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze […]

Prosecutors release secret videos in the Georgia’s church poisoning case

By | March 8th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Prosecutor Jarji Tsiklauri at the briefing. (POG.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia on Wednesday presented its theory of how a priest allegedly was planning to murder an adviser to Patriarch Ilia II, backing the allegations up by secretly obtained videos. The central part of the evidence […]

EU denies link between Georgia visa waiver and refugee centers proposal

By | March 8th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: , |

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A member of the European Unions executive branch denies that there is any connection between a proposal to host refugee centers in Georgia and the recent decision to allow visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian passport holders. […]

ECHR suspends Rustavi 2 takeover ‘until further notice’

By | March 7th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

A letter by ICHR to Rustavi 2 lawyer published on Facebook by Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday confirmed a decision by one of its judges to suspend a ruling by Georgia’s Supreme Court about changing the ownership of the opposition-leaning TV company Rustavi 2. “A Chamber constituted from the Section […]

Georgia rejects idea of hosting refugee center for EU

By | March 7th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: , , |

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz meets his Georgian counterpart during a visit to Tbilisi on February 3, 2017. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia distances itself from a controversial statement by the Austrian minister of foreign affairs, who proposed establishing refugees’ centers outside the borders of the EU, including in Georgia. “There are no plans to set up refugee camps […]

Georgian PM proposes creating new media ombudsman post

By | March 6th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , , |

PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s prime minister proposes creating an office of media ombudsman. The PM’s proposal comes at the same time as the situation surrounding a lawsuit about the country’s most popular TV company remains in a deadlock. After a meeting with PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili […]

Georgia’s embattled TV station Rustavi 2 plans new rally on Saturday

By | March 6th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: |

A scene from the February 19 rally. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Embattled Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2 plans another rally in Tbilisi on Saturday to protest what it claims is an attempt by authorities to silence free speech in the country. On March 3, Georgia’s Supreme Court upheld a decision to change ownership of Rustavi 2. […]

Leaders of Georgia’s Orthodox Church gather to discuss poisoning plot

By | March 5th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–When top clerics within the Georgian Orthodox Church gather for a Holy Synod on March 9, there are several difficult problems on their agenda, notably a priest accused of planning to murder someone in the patriarch’s inner circle. Petre Tsaava, the Metropolitan of Chkondidi, has spoken about corruption in the Church in a series of TV appearances. (2030.news) The Synod is the highest authority […]

Gvaramia: ECHR has suspended Georgian Supreme Court ruling

By | March 3rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The director of Georgia’s largest opposition TV company says the European Court of Human Rights has decided to temporarily suspend a ruling by the former Soviet republic’s Supreme Court which changes the ownership of the company, Rustavi 2. […]

Georgia’s president advises all sides invlolved in Rustavi 2 case to refrain from hasty steps

By | March 3rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian president on Friday stepped into the tense situation surrounding the largest TV station in the country, urging all sides to refrain from undertaking ‘immediate’ action. The decision led to a protest […]

Georgia’s ruling party postpones switch to indirect election of president

By | March 3rd, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: |

Irakli Kobakhidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Dream is backing down on a previous pledge to phase out the use of direct elections to select a president already from next year. Instead, the ruling coalition plans to introduce the change from the 2023 election. “The rules of presidential […]

Vigil held as Georgia’s embattled TV station vows to block takeover

By | March 3rd, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: |

(Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Opposition activists and supporters of Rustavi 2 held a vigil at the studio complex last night, after the Supreme Court upheld a decision to hand ownership of the embattled TV company over to a private investor who critics fear will silence the government’s […]

Georgia Supreme Court upholds decision to change Rustavi 2 ownership

By | March 3rd, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: |

Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Supreme Court in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has controversially upheld a decision to take away ownership of the country’s biggest opposition TV channel and hand it to a private investor. Critics say the decision will effectively silence […]

Georgia Supreme Court begins review of Rustavi 2 case Thursday

By | March 2nd, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

Rustavi 2’s director Nika Gvaramia. (Palitra TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Supreme Court in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Thursday begins to review a highly publicised lawsuit about the ownership over the country’s biggest TV channel. The case concerns who shall control 100 percent of shares in Rustavi 2, […]

Georgian PM signs visa waiver document with EU

By | March 2nd, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, and Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili shaking hands after signing the visa waiver agreement. (Government of Georgia.) TBILISI, DFWatch–After years of negotiations, Georgia’s prime minister finally signed an agreement with the EU on Wednesday which gives his country’s citizens the right to visa-free travel to the Schengen area. The visa waiver plan will be published in the EU […]

Detained Georgian priest curses prosecutors and law enforcers

By | March 1st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Jarji Tsiklauri, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office. (Palitra.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prosecutors in Georgia are still unable to interrogate archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze who is accused of murder attempt of an unidentified person from patriarch’s inner circle. “Instead of responding to our critical questions, he cursed us, […]

NATO concerned about closure of Abkhazia checkpoints

By | February 28th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Nabakevi border crossing to Abkhazia. TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO is concerned that the closure of two crossing points between the breakaway region Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia may have adverse impact on the local population. A spokesperson for the alliance on Tuesday asked for the de facto authorities […]

EU gives final go-ahead for Georgians to enter Schengen without visa

By | February 28th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

All that’s needed is a new biometric passport. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A visa waiver system for Georgian citizens was given the final approval by the EU Council on Monday, and now only formalities remain until 3.7 million citizens of the Caucasus nation can enjoy up to 90 days trips to Europe’s vast borderless Schengen area […]

Georgian judo team takes two gold at Düsseldorf Grand Prix

By | February 27th, 2017|Categories: Sport|Tags: , |

Beka Gviniashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian judo team performed brilliantly at Düsseldorf Grand Prix with two gold medals and second place ahead of Russia and France. The team from Japan won the competition with five gold medals. Vazha Margvelashvili (-66 kg) and Beka Gviniashvili (-90 kg) […]

Second Georgian contractor held captive in DRC named

By | February 27th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Pilot Vyacheslav Pluzhnikov is being held by a Tutsi rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a helicopter crash. (Imedi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The second of two Georgian pilots who were taken prisoner by rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been identified as Vyacheslav Pluzhnikov. Pluzhnikov has a background from the Georgian air force. He was arrested for alleged espionage […]

Patriarch’s head of security resigns, citing ‘intrigues’

By | February 27th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Patriarch Ilia II and Soso Okhanashvili. (Tabula.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In the latest twist in the scandal about an alleged assassination plot within the Georgian Church, the head of the patriarch’s security detail confirmed Sunday that he has resigned from his post. “I went to his holiness… [and] asked for his blessing to left the position,” […]

Aerosmith concert in Georgia sold out in three hours

By | February 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tickets for an Aerosmith concert in Georgia on May 20 went on sale Saturday and were sold out in three hours. Tickets were bought not only by Georgians, but also customers from neighboring Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Tickets for the concert, which will take […]

Georgian opposition party will not face charges for planting pot

By | February 25th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Members of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia will not be prosecuted for planting cannabis in their office on New Year’s Eve because the saplings contained too little of the forbidden narcotic substance. The New Year’s Eve pot […]

Azerbaijan’s president confident pipeline across Turkey will go ahead

By | February 24th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev is certain that nothing can prevent the construction of a new pipeline from his country to the European mainland. As a major producer of natural gas, the Caspian Sea nation has much to gain from the planned Southern Gas Corridor, […]

Two Georgians held captive in DR Congo after military helicopter crash

By | February 23rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

The two captured Georgian contractors were in a Mi-24 military attack helicopter belonging to the DR Congo armed forces. (davric/Wikimedia.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two Georgian private contractors are being held captive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after the military helicopter they were in crash landed in the east of the country nearly a month ago. Georgia’s Ministry of Defense said Wednesday […]

Georgia’s church poisoning case still a mystery

By | February 23rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Prosecutors played secret recordings for Church leaders at the Patriarchate. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Breaking an earlier promise, Georgia’s top prosecutor did not release new evidence about an alleged assassination attempt in the Georgian Orthodox Church upon the return of the patriarch, leaving the public in the dark and the case shrouded in mystery. […]

State Oil and Gas Company Spending Questioned

By | February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Economy|Tags: , , , , |

Georgia Oil and Gas Corporation building on Kakheti av. (Ifact.ge) Between 2012 and 2014, the Georgia Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) spent 3.8 million lari (about $US2.26 million) to finance patrols watching to make sure nobody was stealing gas from oil or gas pipelines. […]

Georgia may ban smoking indoors and at sports arenas

By | February 21st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tobacco Control Alliance demonstrating in Tbilisi in March, 2016. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Lawmakers in Georgia are pondering a blanket ban on smoking indoors which will also cover sports stadiums and all forms of public transport. If the bill is passed, smoking will be prohibited inside all kinds of buildings, except for private homes, laboratories […]

Georgia’s parliament has 41 millionaires

By | February 20th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

Leader of Alliance of Patriots Nato Chkheidze is worth 51 million lari, according to the report. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–41 members of the Georgian parliament are millionaires (in GELs); 37 persons from the Georgian Dream majority and 4 members of two opposition parties, United National Movement and Alliance of Patriots. There are six millionaire ministers […]

New details expected in ‘cyanide affair’ as patriarch returns from Berlin

By | February 20th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Catholicos-Patriarch of All-Georgia Ilia II. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia expects new details to emerge about an alleged assassination attempt in the higher circles of the Orthodox Church, as Patriarch Ilia II has left the hospital in Berlin and is expected to arrive in Tbilisi at around 6pm Monday local time. […]

Ex-laywer elected new Free Democrats leader

By | February 19th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Shalva Shavgulidze is the new Free Democrats leader. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former lawyer has been elected chairman of the embattled Free Democrats, perhaps the most staunchly pro-western party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The Free Democrats’ failure to win any seats in the 2016 parliamentary elections coupled with […]

Rustavi 2 rallies supporters to defend freedom of expression

By | February 19th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: |

News anchor Zaal Udumashvili. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A rally is underway in the center of Tbilisi to show solidarity with Rustavi 2, as a decision is expected in the Supreme Court that could change its ownership, and – according to supporters of the TV company – bring its criticism of the government to a halt. […]

Georgia’s biggest opposition TV station goes dark to protest ‘injustice’

By | February 18th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

A banner posted on Rustavi 2. TBILISI, DFWatch–The biggest opposition TV station in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has voluntarily suspended its broadcast for two days to protest what it claims is an attempt by the government to silence it. “It was not an easy decision[…] but today we are left […]

Massive snowfall causing problems in western Georgia

By | February 17th, 2017|Categories: Environment|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Massive snowfall is causing problems in western Georgia, especially the two regions Samegrelo and Svaneti, where the snow cover in some places exceeds one meter. An avalanche cut off an important road connecting Zugdidi and Mestia, the administrative centers […]

Target of Georgia Church poisoning attempt was patriarch’s adviser

By | February 16th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Shorena Tetruashvili (1tv.ge). TBILISI, DFWatch–Top prosecutors in Georgia now say the target of an assassination attempt within the Orthodox Church was not the patriarch, but one of his advisers. In an interview with the newspaper Rezonansi, POG spokeswoman Natia Sukhiashvili specifically […]

Wizz Air launches low-cost flights between London and Kutaisi

By | February 16th, 2017|Categories: Economy|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is launching cheap flights between London Luton and Kutaisi, a city in the western Imereti region of Georgia. United Airports Georgia announced the direct flights Kutaisi-London-Kutaisi two times per week, on Thursdays […]

Georgia reacts to arrest of priest on murder attempt charges

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Prime Minster Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgians are reacting to the detention of an Orthodox priest whom prosecutors accuse of trying to poison a high church official, widely believed to be the head of the Georgian Church. The story immediately went viral in Georgia, where the Orthodox Church […]

13 UNM activists arrested at rally outside Tbilisi City Hall

By | February 14th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A demonstration in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Monday turned violent when activists for the United National Movement (UNM) tried to break into City Hall in order to meet Mayor Davit Narmania. Thirteen members of the opposition supporters were […]

Georgian priest arrested for planning to murder high church leader with poison

By | February 13th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Giorgi Mamaladze. TBILISI, DFWatch–An archpriest in the Georgian Orthodox Church was arrested at Tbilisi airport, accused of trying to poison a person in ‘the Church’s highest hierarchy’ with cyanide. Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested as he was trying to board a plane […]

Georgian man sentenced to twenty years in prison in breakaway region

By | February 13th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A court in South Ossetia has sentenced a Georgian man to 20 years in a Tskhinvali jail for ‘sabotage and terrorist activities’. 49 year-old Giorgi Giunashvili, a native of the village Disevi inside the breakaway region, was arrested by Tskhinvali forces […]

Georgian parliament overturns president’s veto of judicial bill

By | February 13th, 2017|Categories: Legal reform|Tags: , , , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Opposition parties in the former Soviet republic of Georgia warn that the independence of the courts will be weakened after the ruling party overturned the president’s veto against a judicial reform bill. The so-called third wave of judicial reform was vetoed […]

Russian-backed enclave plans referendum about naming itself after medieval tribe

By | February 13th, 2017|Categories: Caucasus region|Tags: , |

Leonid Tibilov, the de facto President of the enclave Republic of South Ossetia. (RES.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian-backed separatists who have ruled a region of Georgia since the early 1990s plan to name their self-declared republic after a nomadic tribe that conquered swaths of Europe and North Africa in the Middle Ages. If the 50,000 population approves […]

51 people jailed for entering Georgia’s breakaway territories the wrong way

By | February 11th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

The bridge over the river Inguri is currently the only legal way to enter Abkhazia. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has jailed 51 persons over the last nine years for entering Abkhazia or South Ossetia from the wrong direction. The ombudsman now calls for a review of the law. Georgia’s Law on the Occupied Territories […]

UNM activists rally outside Supreme Court to save their TV station

By | February 11th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Tabula.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party gathered in front of the Supreme Court building in Tbilisi on Friday to support their TV station, Rustavi 2, in a private lawsuit that could dampen down its criticism of the government. The activists marched down […]

Rustavi 2 airs allegations against former deptuty chief prosecutor

By | February 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Nika Gvaramia, director of Rustavi 2, the pro-Saakashvili television channel on which the unproven accusations were given extensive air time. TBILISI, DFWatch–A fiercely anti-government TV station in Georgia aired allegations against a former high-level prosecutor purporting that he had tried to sell a secret recordings of a former prime minister and billionaire. The word fight was launched during […]

Four transgender women attacked at Tbilisi nightclub

By | February 8th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four transgender women are being treated for cuts after an attack at a nightclub in downtown Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The incident occurred at 7am Monday on Elbakidze Street, near Rustaveli, one of the main metro stations in the city. […]

UNM to rally to stop Supreme Court ruling against Rustavi 2

By | February 8th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

UNM’s Nika Melia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party are rallying in Tbilisi on February 10 in order to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling against the top people in the largest opposition TV station. UNM’s Nika Melia said on Wednesday that the party of ex-President […]

Text messages ‘prove’ Saakashvili ally pressured Georgia Supreme Court judges

By | February 7th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Davit Sakvarelidze, a Georgian who has worked as prosecutor both in his home country and in Ukraine, is accused of sending text messages to two Supreme Court judges in Georgia. He currently lives in Ukraine. TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s top prosecutor on Tuesday presented text messages allegedly sent from Ukraine as proof that a close ally of former President Mikheil Saakashvili had tried to put pressure on two Supreme Court judges in a lawsuit that could silence […]

Georgian sentenced to 13 years for killing a transgender woman

By | February 7th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , |

Zizi Shekiladze. TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for stabbing and killing a transgender woman acquaintance in Tbilisi last year. Tbilisi City Court decided to sentence 31 year-old Giorgi Murjikneli to 10 years in jail for  viciously attacking and cutting […]

Georgia cracks down on private school linked to Gulen network

By | February 6th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (Photo by the Georgian PM office.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian authorities have suspended the accreditation of a private school with links to the Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara has accused of plotting the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The council of the National Center […]

Georgia Supreme Court judges silent about who pressured them

By | February 5th, 2017|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two Supreme Court judges in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have still not revealed who tried to put pressure on them in a case about the ownership of a large TV station critical to the government. Judges Besarion Arveladze and Paata Katamadze, […]

Abkhazia suspicious of Georgia’s offer of visa-free travel to Europe

By | February 4th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia offers inhabitants in the breakaway region Abkhazia to be included in a visa waiver scheme to the Schengen area. Sukhumi calls the offer manipulation. The EU parliament on Thursday voted in favor of extending […]

Two of Georgia’s Supreme Court judges claim they were pressured

By | February 3rd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia. TBILISI, DFWatch–Two judges in the Supreme Court of the former Soviet republic of Georgia have filed a formal request to the country’s top prosecutor to investigate an attempt to influence them. The case led to an exchange of strong claims and counterclaims on Friday, […]

Imedi-GDS merger heralds further consolidation in Georgian TV

By | February 3rd, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , , |

Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili appearing on 2030, the main news show on GDS. TBILISI, DFWatch–Imedi TV, one of Georgia’s largest TV stations, has bought GDS, a smaller company linked with billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Imedi confirmed that it had purchased 100 percent of shares in the broadcasting company […]

EU parliament greenlights visa-free entry for Georgians

By | February 2nd, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

Tbilisi international airport. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The plan to extend visa-free entry into Schengen to more than 3 million citizens of the former Soviet republic of Georgia passed another hurdle today, as the EU’s parliament approved the plan with a clear majority. At a plenary session the 751 member assembly session endorsed […]

Georgian fighter seeks asylum in Ukraine to avoid extradition

By | February 2nd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine is looking for political asylum in Ukraine, as he believes his life’s in danger if he returns to his home country Georgia. Former Vice Colonel Gia Tsertsvadze is wanted in Russia for a murder in 2003. Recently […]

President, civil rights groups reject new surveillance regulations bill

By | February 1st, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

Eka Beselia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A working group within the Georgian parliament on Monday proposed to establish a new agency under the State Security Service to monitor telephone and internet communications, as well as conduct video and audio eavesdropping. […]

2 military helicopters with Georgian crew crash in eastern Congo

By | February 1st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

DRC Mi-24 military attack helicopter. (davric/Wikimedia.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two Mi-24 military helicopters with a combined crew of at least four crashed on Friday in North Kivu province near the border with Rwanda and Uganda, authorities reported on Monday. Tbilisi based military magazine Arsenal wrote that […]

Theories swirl about what started Tbilisi shopping centre fire

By | January 31st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Radio Tavisupleba.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several theories were circulating about the cause of a massive fire Monday morning near Tbilisi’s central railway station, which is estimated to have done several million US dollars’ worth of damage, but there is still no firm information about why it started. […]

Terminated employees protesting in front of Georgia’s Defense Ministry

By | January 31st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Hundreds of people protested outside the Defense Ministry on Monday against a mass layoff affecting over two thousand people, demanding fair treatment and respect for labor regulations. Protesters demand to get their jobs back and claim the ministry […]

Georgia dismisses over 2,000 defense employees

By | January 30th, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has carried out its biggest layoff ever, as more than two thousands employees were dismissed on Monday. Both military and civilian personnel were affected by the mass layoff. The ministry explained the firings […]

Massive fire at Tbilisi shopping mall spreads, rips through central bazaar

By | January 30th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Thirty fire fighters in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi are trying to extinguish a massive fire that broke out Monday morning at a shopping mall near the city’s central railway station. The blaze has spread to surrounding buildings and engulfed […]

Georgians in Abkhazia protest closure of border crossings

By | January 29th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Authorities in Abkhazia have closed Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings connecting the breakaway region to Georgia proper. The closing of the two checkpoints was announced by Lasha Tsaava, head of the legal department of the de facto […]

Georgia’s president pardons former Defense Ministry officials

By | January 28th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian president on Friday pardoned five former defense ministry officials who were convicted of embezzlement in a politically charged case. The release of the five from prison Friday evening concludes one of the most significant […]

Bologna inclusion lifted quality of Georgia’s education system

By | January 28th, 2017|Categories: Education|Tags: , |

(OSGF.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has bolstered the quality of its higher education and research, thanks to its inclusion in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the authors of a new report argue. By joining the EHEA, popularly referred to as the Bologna process, […]

Georgian soldier freed by Kiev despite Russian extradition request

By | January 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Censor.net.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine was released from pre-trial detention Thursday evening, thus avoiding extradition to Russia, where he is accused of a murder in 2003. Gia Tsertsvadze thanked his supporters as he left prison but declined making further comments. […]