Monthly Archives: April 2014

//April

Orthodox Church against EU in Georgian parliament

By | April 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Priests demonstrated outside parliament Tuesday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Clerics in Georgia don’t want a Europe where ‘homosexuality is legalized,’ and call on parliament to not pass an anti-discrimination law required for the signing of an association agreement with the EU. The Georgian parliament has two more […]

Large weapons collection discovered in Tbilisi

By | April 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Military type weapons including anti-tank missiles were voluntarily handed over to the police by a 44 year old Georgian man. (Police.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian citizen has voluntarily handed over a large collection of military type weapons to the police department in Tbilisi. The impressive weapons collection included an RPG-26 anti-tank grenade launcher, four prefabricated PG-9 […]

Rape case shocks Tbilisi

By | April 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia have detained three Iraqi citizens who are suspected of rape of a minor in Tbilisi. They are suspected of attempting to rape a fifteen year old boy on Tuesday at an apartment on Zandukeli Street in the center of the capital, but […]

Georgia’s defense minister to meet Chuck Hagel

By | April 30th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is to meet Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defense. Alasania is on a working visit to the US and plans bilateral meetings at the Pentagon. According to the Georgian Defense Ministry’s press office, […]

Wolf pack attacked livestock near Tbilisi

By | April 29th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

It’s the fifth time wolves attack livestock in the area west of Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A pack of wolves has attacked livestock in a village near Tbilisi, Interpressnews reports. The wolf attack took place in the village Kodistskaro, near the town Kaspi, and only 60 km from the center of the Georgian capital. The news agency reports […]

NGOs claim gov’t delaying anti-surveillance bill till after election

By | April 29th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

The campaign ‘This Affects You Too’ suspects that the government wants to delay a law to protect against illegal surveillance. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Campaigners fighting to stop secret surveillance in Georgia are asking parliament to pass amendments to prohibit secret phone surveillance before the local election on June 15. Non-governmental organizations in the ‘This Affects You Too’ campaign […]

Georgian Orthodox Church opposed to anti-discrimination law

By | April 29th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Orthodox Church is opposed to a draft anti-discrimination bill, which is currently making its way through parliament. Clerics there want to remove ‘sexual orientation’ from the text. But human rights activists and Tbilisi-based NGOs […]

Work halted again at prehistoric mine in Georgia

By | April 29th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Sakdrisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Work has been halted at the ancient Sakdrisi gold mine in southern Georgia, Interpressnews reports. The news agency quotes Irakli Lomidze, spokesperson for the Sakdrisi Survival Committee, who said the heavy machinery stopped Sunday night and did not […]

Two more Georgians detained on disputed SO border

By | April 29th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian soldiers Monday detained two more Georgians on the border with South Ossetia. The incident took place in the village Kldistskharo, and on the same day as a meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, that are used to solve […]

Muslims in Batumi hoping for permission to build new mosque

By | April 28th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

At Friday prayer, the street outside is used for additional prayer space. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For more than a decade, Muslims in Batumi have failed to get permission to build a second mosque in the city. The one they have is not big enough to meet demand. Every Friday, several thousands of Muslims come to Orta Jame Mosque in Batumi, […]

Protesters weary of RMG’s intentions at prehistoric mine

By | April 28th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

RMG Gold says it intends to dig in the area as long as it has a right to do so. (Photo taken by Green Fist.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Students, youth and environmental activists are still camped near a prehistoric gold mine in south Georgia, weary that a mining company might begin digging at the still sparsely surveyed archaological site. About a week ago, […]

Georgia’s governing coalition launches local election campaign

By | April 28th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili (left) and Georgian Dream candidate for Tbilisi mayor Davit Narmania. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream coalition on Saturday launched its election campaign and presented candidates for mayors in 12 cities. The main event at Sports Palace in Tbilisi gathered up to 12,000 people and included MPs, government members, […]

Three Georgian women released by South Ossetia

By | April 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Rusudan Khuroshvili, one of the three women who were detained by Russian soldiers for allegedly crossing the disputed border. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Three women who were detained by Russian soldiers on the South Ossetian border on Friday have been released. The three were detained in the village Khurvaleti, which lies right on the disputed border. Georgian news agency Interpressnews reports that […]

Former Georgian intelligence chief detained in Greece

By | April 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Data Akhalaia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former head of Georgia’s domestic intelligence service has been detained in Greece as he tried to cross the border into Italy using a fake passport. Data Akhalaia, the former head of the Constitutional Security Department, among Georgians known […]

One more Georgian detained at disputed border

By | April 27th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , , , |

Ditsi, another village where people have been detained on the disputed border. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–One Georgian was detained Saturday by Russian soldiers near the border with South Ossetia. This is the fourth Georgian this happens to this week. Merab Kapanadze, 70, from the village Tseronisi, was detained while tending to his cattle […]

One murdered, prayer house burnt in Muslim village

By | April 26th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

The newly built prayer house in Mughanlo which was burnt on April 18. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In a Muslim village near Tbilisi, a man was recently stabbed to death, and three days later a prayer house was put on fire. Is there a connection? DF Watch went there to investigate. The village is called Mughanlo and lies about 30 minutes’ drive east […]

Georgian and South Ossetian youth kick off Balkan tour

By | April 26th, 2014|Categories: In brief, Youth|Tags: , , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A bus with Georgian and South Ossetian youth was to start a tour of Turkey and the Balkans Saturday morning, Interpressnews reports. The trip, called Georgian – South Ossetian Youth Peace Express, will last 17 days and bring the youth by bus through […]

Georgia’s watered-down anti-discrimination law

By | April 26th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. The Ministry of Justice of Georgia has been working on a draft anti-discrimination law since early 2013. In December last year it was passed on to the government for review and this government-proposed bill was sent to the Parliament for approval on March 28. Several […]

Three Georgians detained on South Ossetia border

By | April 25th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The detainees are believed to be held in a Tskhinvali prison. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian soldiers have detained three Georgian citizens in the village Khurvaleti for violating the border with South Ossetia. All three detainees – Rusudan Khuroshvili, Zeinab Kharkheli and Lali Khuroshvili – were taken to South Ossetia. […]

Georgia’s foreign trade up 18% in Q1 – precise data

By | April 25th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

More than a fifth of Georgia’s export is used cars. (Rustavi.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2014 was USD 2,523 million, according to precise data from the National Statistics Department, GeoStat, published on Thursday. This is 18 percent more than it was in same period last […]

Georgian president speaks at EU Eastern Partnership summit

By | April 25th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , , |

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili (left) and Czech President Miloš Zeman. (Photo by Georgian president’s office.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili Thursday met with his Czech colleague Milos Zeman during a visit to Prague. Mergvelashvili came to take part in the five year summit of the Eastern Partnership, a political effort by the EU to reform six former […]

Politician who was beaten in 2005 holds Saakashvili responsible

By | April 25th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Republican Valeri Gelashvili is convinced his beating in 2005 was ordered by Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation against former Interior Ministry officials Erekle Kodua and Gia Siradze for the beating of MP Valeri Gelashvili in 2005. The Prosecutor’s Office made a statement about this issue on Thursday. […]

Witnesses heard in intelligence blackmailing trial

By | April 25th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Tbilisi City Court. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Three former Interior Ministry officials were in court yesterday. They are on trial accused of having blackmailed a bodyguard of businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2012, shortly before the parliamentary election. At Thursday’s hearing witnesses said […]

Steinmeier: Georgia’s treaty with EU not a threat to Russia

By | April 24th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU is not a threat to Russia-Georgia relations. Steinmeier, who is visiting Georgia with his French colleague Laurent Fabius, said at a press […]

Margvelashvili to speak at Eastern Partnership summit

By | April 24th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has left for Prague to participate in the five year anniversary summit of the Eastern Partnership. According to president administration, Giorgi Margvelashvili will hold a speech at the summit on April 25. […]

‘Biden threatened sanctions to stop them questioning me’

By | April 24th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Mikheil Saakashvili during an interview with Ukrainian TV in December, 2013. (112.ua) TBILISI, DFWatch–A government spokesman in Georgia rejects a claim by ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili that US Vice President Joe Biden called and threatened sanctions. Saakashvili claimed Biden threatened that the West would seize ex-Prime Minister Bidzina […]

Ex-counterintelligence chief applies for asylum in Greece

By | April 23rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Data Akhalaia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former Georgian counterintelligence chief in exile has applied for political asylum in Greece. Data Akhalaia, the former head of the Constitutional Security Department (Kudi) during the Saakashvili regime, is brother of the imprisoned former […]

The economy isn’t everything, say Georgia’s green activists

By | April 23rd, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , , |

Mariam Gurgenidze, 23, and Irakli Ghutidze, 26. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new movement has sprung up in Georgia in response to the government forcing through a gigantic hydro power project against strong popular resistance. The movement is called Green Fist and began as a group of twenty youth who travelled […]

Simpler Russian citizenship rules may pose threat to Georgia

By | April 23rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The Russian Interests Section in Tbilisi, where Georgians can apply for Russian citizenship. (Voice of Abkhazia.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian diplomat says Georgia must be on guard after the Russian Duma passed a bill which simplifies the rules for getting Russian citizenship. The legislative amendment has been a cause of concern for groups in Georgia the last few weeks, with […]

Georgia halts RMG’s mining at prehistoric site

By | April 23rd, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , , |

Scientists say the Sakdrisi site is 5,400 years old. (Culture Ministry.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s culture minister promises to halt excavation work at an ancient a gold mine in the south of the country after protesters camped near the site raised the alarm that it was being damaged by RMG Gold. Culture Minister Guram Odisharia […]

Memorial to the Armenian genocide unveiled in Tbilisi

By | April 22nd, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

The memorial is a stone Khachkari with a cross and ornaments engraved. (Photo published by the Armenian community.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A memorial to the Armenian genocide was unveiled in Tbilisi on Monday. The memorial is made of stone and stands in the yard of Surb Etchmiadzin Church in the capital. Levon Isakhanian, representative of the Armenian community in Georgia, […]

Steinmeier and Fabius visiting Georgia April 23-24

By | April 22nd, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , , |

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The foreign ministers of Germany and France will visit Georgia on April 23-24. Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and France’s Laurent Fabius were originally to have visited Georgia on March 3, but they both postponed due to events in Ukraine. […]

Georgian president: No preparations made for Putin meeting

By | April 22nd, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says the proposal by Russia’s Vladimir Putin for a meeting has had no actual follow-up or preparations. At the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian president said that there is a possibility […]

Georgia on top of EU visa rejection list

By | April 22nd, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

12% of visa applications by Georgian citizens to Schengen countries were rejected in 2013, according to Liberal Academy Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is on top of a list of former Soviet countries from where the highest number of people get their visa application rejected by the EU. For each country in EU’s Eastern Partnership plus Russia, the Schengen visa rejection rate in 2013 was: […]

Voter’s list shrinks ahead of local election in Georgia

By | April 22nd, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , |

Voting in the Nadzaladevi by-election a year ago in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There are 3.49 million registered voters for Georgia’s June 15 local elections. This marks a gradual reduction in the Georgian electorate. In the presidential election in October 2013, 3.54 million people were eligible to vote, while a year before […]

Georgian leaders attend Easter service

By | April 21st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili (left) attending mass in a church in Dusheti. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Where and how to observe Easter is important for politicians in Georgia, and this year was no exception. This Easter, the prime minister and other government members attended Easter Eve service in the recently constructed Trinity (Sameba) Cathedral in Tbilisi, […]

Protest intensifies as RMG starts digging at ancient mine

By | April 21st, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

Protesters outside the studios of Georgian Public Broadcaster waiting for the culture minister to arrive to take part in a talk show. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Protesters who are camped near an ancient gold mine in southern Georgia say the mining company RMG Gold started excavation work on a section of the mine on Tuesday afternoon, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied this. The tent camp at Sakdrisi […]

69 prisoners released for Easter

By | April 20th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–69 prisoners were released from jail on Saturday, following a decision by local prison boards and the Prison Ministry’s pardon commission. Altogether, the bodies have reviewed the cases of about 770 prisoners in three days, according to the Prison […]

School children in Tbilisi harassed due to teacher neglect

By | April 19th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, Youth|Tags: , |

School children in Tbilisi are being harassed because of their religion, ethnicity, appearance or other reasons, a new study shows. (Ministry of Education.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new study has found that children in Georgian schools are verbally and physically harassed because of their ethnicity, belief, appearance or for other reasons. The study is based on interviews with all pupils from 8th to 11th grade at six public […]

Why did Georgia declare a ‘moratorium’ on ex-officials?

By | April 18th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–After the government Monday announced a ‘moratorium’ on prosecuting politicians, the National Movement criticizes it for misleading people by not fulfilling its promise. On Monday, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili in a statement called on […]

Georgian foreign trade in Q1 up 18%

By | April 17th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

Used cars is Georgia’s most important export item. Here Rustavi car market near Tbilisi. (rustavi.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2014 was USD 2,523 million. This is 18 percent more than in the same period last year. Preliminary data published by Georgia’s National Statistics Department, GeoStat, show that export […]

What can be done to improve integration of minorities?

By | April 17th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Van Baiburt (left), Deputy Head of Armenian Union of Georgia, and Manana Nachkebia from the New Rightists Party. (Click on image to watch video.) (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–DFWatch organized a discussion about the problem minorities are experiencing with getting involved in politics and state affairs. A representative of a minority diaspora and a spokesperson for an opposition party participated in our discussion. […]

Georgian TV crew released by South Ossetia

By | April 17th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

A Georgian TV crew of three was released by South Ossetia Wednesday evening, after being detained the day before. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian TV crew of three was released by South Ossetia Wednesday evening. Bela Zakaidze, Vakho Lekiashvili and Mikheil Mikhoev were detained Tuesday as they crossed the de facto border near Adzvi. They were taken by Russian border guards to […]

No news about release of Georgian TV crew held in South Ossetia

By | April 16th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , , |

Vakho Lekiashvili (left) and Bela Zakaidze, two of the TV3 employees who are in detention in South Ossetia. (Interepressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–It is still unknown whether three Georgian journalists detained by South Ossetia will be released today. Neither the Ministry of Internal Affairs nor EUs Monitoring Mission have been informed about when they will be released. The Foreign Ministry […]

Confusion over Georgian justice moratorium

By | April 16th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Gigi Ugulava. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, the National Movement is crying foul over the trial against one of their top people, suspended Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava. The reason is that the prime minister recently announced a ‘moratorium’ on prosecuting any member of the National […]

Georgian justice minister calls for fair election campaign

By | April 16th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was pelted with eggs as he left the Constitutional Court Friday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s minister of justice calls on everyone to allow political parties to conduct their election campaign in a normal environment, after eggs were thrown at National Movement activists last weekend. People threw eggs at former Mayor of Tbilisi […]

Georgian TV crew detained in South Ossetia

By | April 16th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Vakho Lekiashvili (left) and Bela Zakaidze from TV3. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian TV crew of three was detained by Russian soldiers Tuesday on the de facto border with South Ossetia. RES, the official news agency of the breakaway region confirmed that three Georgians had been detained, but failed to name the detainees. […]

Abashidze and Karasin will meet tomorrow in Prague

By | April 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Zurab Abashidze, Georgia’s negotiator. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Negotiatiors for Russia and Georgia are meeting April 16 in Prague, after postponing several times. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin and Georgia’s PM’s Special Representative for Russian Relations Zurab Abashidze should have met on March […]

Georgian lawyer group files lawsuit against Russia

By | April 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Razor wire in Dvani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A human rights organization in Georgia has taken Russia to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of 19 people living on the border with the breakaway territory South Ossetia. The case concerns people living in the village Dvani, southwest […]

PM announces ‘moratorium’ on prosecuting ex-officials

By | April 15th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia has introduced a ‘moratorium’ on prosecuting former officials from the National Movement party of Mikheil Saakashvili, out of fear that it may restrict democratic rights. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said […]

Georgia gets new region and infrastructure minister

By | April 14th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

From left to right: Davit Narmania, Irakli Gharibashvili and Elhuja Khokrishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Elguja Khokrishvili was Monday appointed as Georgia’s new minister for regional development and infrastructure. He will take over from Davit Narmania, who is stepping down in order to run for Tbilisi mayor in the local elections on June 15. Announcing […]

Georgia to hold local elections on June 15

By | April 14th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , |

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The 2014 local elections in Georgia will be held on June 15. This is decided in a decree by President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed April 10. The decree has been sent to the government for approval and will come into force as soon as it is published […]

Anti-Russia rally outside government office in Tbilisi

By | April 14th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

The anti-Russia demonstrators want to ban organizations cooperating with Russia and to make it a crime to publicly deny Russian aggression against Georgia. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An anti-Russia rally outside the government office in Tbilisi Sunday demanded a ban on organizations cooperating with Russia and making it a crime to publicly deny that Russia is an aggressor. The rally was called ‘No to collaboration! No to […]

Pro-EU rally and concert in Tbilisi

By | April 14th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

The concert was titled ‘We Want Europe’ and brought messages through speeches and music about why Georgia should become a member of the EU. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A concert was held in Tbilisi on Sunday to rally support for Georgia’s integration with the EU. The concert was called We Want Europe. Among the speakers was President Giorgi Margvelashvili who addressed the crowd in the beginning of the concert. […]

Why do so few girls finish school in Duzagrama?

By | April 13th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News, Youth|Tags: , |

Most girls in Duzagrama get married and drop out of school before ninth grade. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Pariz Alakhverdiani, 17, is in 12th grade at the public school in Duzagrama, a small village in southeast Georgia populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis. Alakhverdiani wants to study at the Medical University in Tbilisi and has decided to become a dentist. […]

MP and former prosecutor charged with abuse of power

By | April 12th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Roland Akhalaia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has officially charged National Movement parliamentarian Roland Akhalaia. Akhalaia is charged with abusing his power as prosecutor by demanding money from the family of a defendant for entering into a plea bargain […]

Georgia may limit questioning of politicians ahead of election

By | April 12th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , |

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani wants guidelines for criminal investigations involving people running in the local election in June. Tsulukiani did not explain more specifically what kind of rules it will be beyond calling for ‘recommendations’. She said […]

David Lidington explains the UK’s view on the Ukraine crisis

By | April 12th, 2014|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , , |

David Lidington, Britain’s Minister for Europe. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–We sat down with David Lidington, UK Minister for Europe, who visited on April 1-2, and asked him about Georgia’s association agreement with the EU and whether NATO should set it on course for membership. Is it possible that Russia will bring pressure […]

Campaigners launch protest camp to defend ancient Georgian site

By | April 11th, 2014|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , |

The Sakdrisi site. (Photo by Georgia’s Culture Ministry.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A campaign to save an ancient gold mine in southern Georgia is planning to start a protest camp on Monday. The Public Committee to Save Sakdrisi, which consists of students, scientists and an initiative group of non-governmental organizations, plans […]

Court ruling supports former GPB board members

By | April 11th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Georgian Public Broadcaster. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Constitutional Court has decided that the Public Broadcaster cannot fire members of its board before the end of their term. Meanwhile, parliament has still not selected new board members, a process which has been dragged out over […]

Germany’s Steinmeier to visit Georgia in late April

By | April 11th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

Germany Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. (Photo by SPD.) TBILISI, DFWatch–German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Georgia in about ten days. Steinmeier announced the trip after a meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze who visited him in Germany on Thursday. One of the topics they […]

Georgian FM Panjikidze is visiting Germany

By | April 10th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Maia Panjikidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze today begins a working visit to Germany. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Panjikidze’s delegation will hold meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Chancellor […]

Russian plane flies briefly over Georgia

By | April 10th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

A plane of the type Antonov An-2. TBILISI, DFWatch–A Russian plane overflew Georgian-controlled territory briefly on Thursday, Georgia’s Interior Ministry confirmed. The plane, of the model Antonov An-2, flew over the village Khurcha near the de facto border with the breakaway region […]

New tuberculosis center to be opened in Tbilisi

By | April 10th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Davit Sergeenko. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is opening a new treatment center for tuberculosis in Tbilisi. The government is discussing the new clinic today. Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs , David Sergeenko, told reporters Thursday that the clinic, which will be located […]

Georgian MP calls for “return” of breakaway territories

By | April 10th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Tina Khidasheli called for a “return” of four territories under Russian control: Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniestr. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A spokeswoman for Georgia’s coalition government Wednesday told European countries to be tougher against Russia and said four disputed territories currently under Russian control will be “returned”. Member of Parliament Tina Khidasheli drew on the fact […]

Georgian parliament prepares to check safety of large facilities

By | April 9th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , |

Gia Tsagareishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is preparing to conduct impact assessments for many large factories and other facilities, built during the Soviet Union. Gia Tsagareishvili, head of parliament’s environmental committee, says many big installations have Soviet-era standards […]

Georgian speaker: What will NATO do if Georgia is attacked?

By | April 9th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s speaker of parliament says his country could disappear from the world map if abandoned by NATO. “If Georgia takes step towards NATO, this will cause another aggression from Russia,” Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said Tuesday […]

Georgian minister says there will be no Ukraine scenario here

By | April 9th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili rules out that there will be a repetition in Georgia of what took place in Ukraine. Three months of protests in the center of Kiev turned violent, ending in President […]

Georgia marks 25 years since deadly clashes with Soviet troops

By | April 9th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani took part in planting of saplings in remembrance of the 21 who died during a demonstration for Georgian independence April 9, 1989. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Members of the Georgian government today planted saplings in the Ninth of April Garden in Tbilisi, comemmorating the deadly dispersal of protesters by Soviet troops 25 years ago today. In remembrance of the tragedy, cabinet members planted […]

Adjara changes its decision to allow new mosque in Batumi

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Muslims praying outside the Orta Jame Mosque in Batumi. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia’s southwestern Adjara region, authorities have changed their decision to allow the Muslim population to build a new mosque in Batumi, a city on the shores of the Black Sea. Tens of thousands of Muslims live in different villages and […]

Georgia appoints ambassadors to India, Slovenia, Kuwait

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has appointed new ambassadors to India, Slovenia, Vatican and Kuwait. From May 1, Georgia’s ambassador to Slovenia will be Zurab Bekaia, Tamar Grdzelidze will be ambassador to Vatican from June 1, 2014, Roland Beridze will be ambassador […]

Curbing of illegal surveillance delayed, campaigners say

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

Kakha Kojoridze from Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, one of the groups in the campaign. (Promotion video.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Campaigners in Georgia suspect law enforcement agencies are intentionally prolonging a legislative hearing about illegal wiretapping. The campaign ‘This Affects You Too’, which includes several of the most influential NGOs in Tbilisi, was started […]

Planned funding scheme for religious groups is discriminatory

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a Criminologist working at Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center. Late January the Government of Georgia adopted a resolution which enables the financing of four traditional religious confessions: the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Muslim and Jewish groups. Until now, the Georgian Orthodox Church was the […]

Saakashvili’s party said to be preparing Kiev style protests

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Interior Minister Aleksandre Chikaidze said the National Movement is preparing for a Kiev-style protest camp in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Interior Minister says the National Movement is preparing a Euromaidan scenario in Georgia and that he has information that they have already started collecting tires. Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze said in an interview with the […]

Angela Merkel invites Georgia’s PM

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Angela Merkel. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Germany’s Angela Merkel has invited Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili to Germany. Gharibashvili will visit Germany in the beginning of June. According to Davit Maghradze, advisor at the international relations department at the government […]

Georgia creates commission to handle election violations

By | April 7th, 2014|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani will head the commission. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has created an interagency commission to handle violations ahead of the local elections, slated for June. The commission will be led by Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani. Other members are the deputy interior minister, deputy foreign […]

Minibus drivers in Rustavi on strike, claim tender was rigged

By | April 7th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Drivers claim the company Intertrans has ties to Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Drivers of minibuses on the route between Tbilisi and Rustavi have been on strike for the last few days, demonstrating outside the office of the Georgian Dream coalition. They accusing Rustavi city authorities and Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze […]

Georgia denies reports of mass issuing of Russian passports

By | April 7th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

The Russian Interests Section. (Radio Voice of Abkhazia.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia denies reports that the consular office for Russian interests in Tbilisi is issuing Russian passports. Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani said this information is false. Georgia and Russia do not have diplomatic […]

Autopsy report published in case of Data Akhalaia witness death

By | April 7th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has released the autopsy report in the case of a witness who died. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday published more material regarding the death of a witness who testified against a recently convicted Saakashvili ally. Shalva Tatukhashvili died March 23 in his home, after testifying against Data Akhalaia, […]

Bullying in schools is a persistent problem in Georgia

By | April 6th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Bullying on religious grounds is a big problem in schools in Georgia, according to the human rights group EMC. (Ministry of Education.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A human rights group in Georgia warns of an alarming trend of intolerance of religious minorities in public schools. Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) studied eight schools in Tbilisi and found that the Ministry of Education has not […]

Opposition groups form coalition in Tbilisi

By | April 5th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

Dimitri Lortkipanidze, the United Opposition’s candidate for Tbilisi Mayor. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A coalition of opposition parties not represented in parliament met on Friday to present their candidate for Tbilisi Mayor: former MP Dimitry Lortkipanidze. The coalition was created by Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement together with three […]

Close Saakashvili ally questioned about embezzlement

By | April 5th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Giga Bokeria claims he was called in for questioning for political reasons. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prosecutors in Georgia Friday questioned the former secretary of the country’s Security Council in an embezzlement case. Walking out after five hours inside the Prosecutor’s Office, Giga Bokeria said the interrogation was conducted in a peaceful […]

Saakashvili wants to educate Ukrainians in reforms

By | April 4th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is to start a center for the study of reforms in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Saakashvili, who is currently in Kiev, said in an interview with a TV channel there that he wants to share his experiences […]

Georgia had 8 percent increase in visitors in March

By | April 4th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

10% more tourists visited Georgia in January-March 2014, compared to the year before. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia had an 8 percent increase in number of visitors in March, 2014, compared to the same period last year. There came 392,725 visitors in the third month of 2014, according to new monthly figures published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. […]

Georgian prosecutors proceed without Saakashvili’s help

By | April 4th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian prosecutors will not question ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. The investigation continues without his testimony. Deputy Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said on Thursday that Saakashvili failed to do his citizen duty and come for […]

Georgian PM visits site of new air, sea and land transit hub

By | April 3rd, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia on Wednesday confirmed plans for a new airport in conjunction with a port in Anaklia, a small settlement on the Black Sea coast, on the border with Abkhazia. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, who visited Anaklia with Infrastructure […]

Lawyer group demands effective investigation of prisoner abuse

By | April 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Kakha Kojoridze from Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) demands that the government starts investigating several cases of possible mistreatment of prisoners. According to GYLA, 17 persons have contacted the organization the last 2 months, eight of them tell about […]

NATO chief doesn’t exclude Georgian membership plan

By | April 3rd, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. (NATO photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen does not rule out that the alliance might give Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the summit in Wales in September. At a press conference in Brussels yesterday, a journalist from Georgia’s […]

Videos seem to rule out torture of Data Akhalaia witness

By | April 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The office of Georgia’s chief prosecutor. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has described more details surrounding the death of Shalva Tatukhashvili, which it says shows that he could not have been tortured during interrogation. Tatukhashvili, a former deputy department head […]

Poland’s Komorowski urges Georgia to sign EU treaty

By | April 2nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili (left), and President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski. TBILISI, DFWatch–President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, on Wednesday met with his Polish counterpart Bronisław Komorowski. Margvelashvili spoke about Georgia’s integration with Europe and Poland’s experience in the same regard. The two also discussed security […]

NATO chief reiterates support for Georgia’s borders

By | April 2nd, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: |

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. (NATO photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–As NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels and discussed the Ukraine crisis, the alliance’s secretary general underlined that it supports Georgia’s borders. “At this time, it is more important than ever to stress that the breach of territorial […]

Georgia expects visa free travel with Schengen by 2016

By | April 2nd, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

Georgia’s Minister for Euro-Integration Alexi Petriashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government hopes its country’s citizens will be able to travel to Schengen countries visa free from 2016 at the latest. Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili said on Monday that he hopes to see the first phase […]

Georgian President Margvelashvili visiting Poland

By | April 2nd, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili Wednesday began a two day visit to Poland. On the first day of his visit, Margvelashvili was to meet his Polish colleague, after which they were slated to hold a joint press conference. He will also meet with […]

Poll shows Georgian Dream winning Tbilisi mayoral race

By | April 2nd, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , , |

Georgian Dream’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor, Davit Narmania, who currently is Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In a new poll, 52 percent of Tbilisians say they would vote for the Georgian Dream candidate for mayor if the local elections were held tomorrow. Four percent say they won’t vote for anyone, and 18 percent haven’t decided yet. Another source […]

Live interviews of 27 candidates for Public Broadcaster board

By | April 1st, 2014|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The 27 candidates for the Board of Trustees of Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) will be interviewed live on GPB’s Channel 2 Wednesday and Thursday. After going through a round of interviews, a shortlist of 15 candidates will be sent to parliament, […]

76 prisoners released by parole board

By | April 1st, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Gldani prison in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–76 prisoners were released before the end of their sentence term today; two minors and one woman. The Prison Ministry’s local board of parole discussed the cases of about 900 prisoners who have served more than half of their sentence in cases […]

Death of a witness calls into question interrogation methods

By | April 1st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The lawyer and the family of a man who died after questioning claim the Prosecutor’s Office tortured him to produce false testimony and that he died as a result of torture. The results of the autopsy will be known by the end of the week. Meanwhile, […]

Improved human rights in Georgia, but minorities are discriminated

By | April 1st, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Discrimination of sexual, ethnic and religious minorities, child marriage, family violence, bullying in schools, people affected by hydro power development and mistreatment of prisoners. These are some of the human rights challenges in the Georgian […]

Georgia expecting a ‘benificial decision’ at NATO summit

By | April 1st, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is expecting a ‘beneficial decision’ from the NATO summit in Newport, Wales in September. Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili said Monday that a statement made by US President Barack Obama last week was a lesson for him and other […]