TBILISI, DFWatch – Will a city court in Georgia dare to go against the country’s president? By Tuesday afternoon this should be known, as Tbilisi City Court prepares to announce its ruling in a citizenship case.
President Mikheil Saakashvili October 11 revoked a businessman’s citizenship, four days after the latter had declared he would mobilize his 5 billion dollar fortune to remove Saakashvili from power.
But losing the citizenship blocked his progress, because it’s illegal for non-Georgians to engage in politics here.
The case proceedings were characterized by lengthy speeches by the businessman’s lawyers, while the authorities answered in short statements lasting only a few minutes.
Adding to the complexity of the case, yesterday it became known that Bidzina Ivanishvili had renounced his Russian citizenship. This means that he is now only a French citizen. Ivanishvili until recently was a triple Russian-French-Georgian citizen.
His lawyers argued in the case that it was a mystery why his wife’s citizenship was also revoked. Ekaterine Khvedelidze already held a double French-Russian citizenship when she was granted Georgian citizenship in 2004.
Lawyers for Ivanishvili have argued that president Saakashvili’s decision was politically motivated and promise to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if they lose.
Stay tuned for updates on DFWatch.net when the decision is announced.