TBILISI, DFWatch — Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook page has seen an influx of traffic the last week from Georgian users responding to the NATO Secretary General’s recent statement about expressing concern over the detention of military and political officials in Georgia.
The Facebook posting, which is a video message about the war in Afghanistan, now has about 700 comments regarding the detention case, most of the comments from Georgian users.
Some write to support Mr Fogh Rasmussen’s expression of concern, while others criticize him. Some have even started posting their own stories in Georgian and English about things they want to tell the NATO chief.
Fogh Rasmussen’s feeling of concern was a response to the recent detention of a former interior minister, the head of the General Headquarters and the commander of the Fourth Brigade for abuse of powers. Their cases are being reviewed by the courts, and the first pre-trial hearing is scheduled for December 25.
The detentions are seen as politically motivated by the new government’s opponents, while officials claim that a crime will be proven and that there will not be political persecution in Georgia.
“I am concerned if these trials are perceived to be politically motivated that would be damaging for the image of the country and the government, even if it is not true. That’s my concern,” Fogh Rasmussen explained. “This is the reason why it is most important to stress that such trials must take place in accordance with the basic principles of rule of law, ensure full transparency.”
The Secretary General on Wednesday made reference to the discussion on his Facebook page.
“I really appreciate the active very active debate on my Facebook site, but let me kindly ask the Georgian participants to debate in one of our official languages, English or French because I’m not able to read I don’t understand Georgian,” he said. “I would like to but I can’t, so it would be helpful if you could exchange views and discuss in either English or French. But I am a strong supporter of the freedom of expression that also includes my Facebook site.”
After his statement new comments by Georgians appear on the link apologizing for improper behavior of their fellow citizens.