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In Georgia, judge set bail for former CEO of TV channel which insulted Putin

12.08.2019, 17:12
Photo credit: Screenshot from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Tbilisi city court has set caution bail in amount of 40,000 lari ($ 13.6 thousand) for former CEO of Rustavi-2 TV company Nick Gvaramia, as Ukrinform reported citing "Georgia Online". “Georgia Prosecutor general's office addressed a motion to the Tbilisi city court asking  to set bail of 80,000 lari ($ 27,3 thousand) as preventive measure for Gvaramia. In addition, the prosecution insisted that the court prohibit Gvaramia from leaving Georgia without notification until the investigation was completed,” the statement reads. It is noted that the judge partially granted the prosecutor's request. Along with the bail, the court agreed to "prohibit travelling abroad without notification". The bail has to be paid within 30 days. If Gvaramia doesn’t provide bail within the time limit, the prosecutor's office may refer to the court, demanding that the preventive measure to be made thougher. Gvaramia told the press he was going to appeal against this decision. According to “Georgia Online”, on August 1, the office of public prosecutor started investigation into the possible misappropriation of money and property of “Rustavi-2”. The prosecutor's office claimed that as director general of the TV channel Gvaramia "abused his manager’s and representative powers", acted dishonestly and not in the interests of the television company. IMI reported, on July 17, CEO of Georgian TV channel "Rustavi-2" Nick Gvaramia was fired from his post. It happened immediately after the after the ownership of Rustavi-2 TV station was passed to a businessman Khibar Khalvashi. The latter appointed CEO his lawyer Paat Sali instead of Guaramia. A few hours before his release, Guvaramia stated that he had signed a contract with the TV channel before December 31, 2020 and that he was not going to quit. After his resignation, he claimed his dismissal was conditioned by political reasons, stressing that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin “required” to close the channel. On July 7, the host of Georgian TV channel "Rustavi-2" Georgy Gabunia, in a live program “PS", insulted Russian President Vladimir Putin using strong language. The TV channel has suspended journalist Giorgi Gabunia for two months. Following such statements by Gabunia, a rally of pro-Russian activists gathered near the building of the TV channel, demanding to fire the presenter. The channel was forced to cease broadcasting due to protests, but resumed broadcasting on July 8. Rustavi-2 CEO Nick Guaramia condemned such crude tirade made by Gabunya. Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze and President of the country Salome Zurabishvili also condemned that provocation. Speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament Vyacheslav Volodin said that a Georgian journalist who had insulted Putin should be extradited to Russia and appear before a Russian court.
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