Georgian court leaves opposition TV channel founder Gvaramia behind bars
The Georgian Court of Appeal upheld the Tbilisi City Court's May decision sentencing opposition media manager, the founder of opposition TV company "Main Channel" Nika Gvaramia, to three and a half years in prison, Radio Liberty reports.
The prosecutor's office accused Gvaramia of embezzling and misappropriating the funds of the private TV company "Rustavi-2", which Gvaramia headed for several years.
During Mikheil Saakashvili's presidency, Gvaramia was appointed Minister of Justice, Prosecutor General, and Minister of Education. He was considered the most influential opposition figure after Saakashvili.
After the Court of Appeal announced its verdict, European Parliament member Anna Fotiga gave an interview to Georgian journalists, where she called Gvaramia a "victim of political persecution" and demanded his immediate release. Similar statements were repeatedly made by other members of the European Parliament.
As IMI reported, Nika Gvaramia decided to found a new TV channel on July 18, 2019, when he was dismissed from the CEO position at Rustavi-2 after the opposition TV channel changed owners. Rustavi-2 leading journalists followed him and left the channel, accusing the new owners of acting upon commission from the government and seeking to suppress freedom of speech.
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