Members of three different factions of the European Parliament addressed President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili on issues that “have the potential to undermine progress”. MPs emphasised the Gigi Ugulava and Cables’ Case in particular.
“We note that the Constitutional Court of Georgia in its full composition ruled in late 2015 that the extended pre-trial detention of another high-profile opposition figure, the former Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, was “anti constitutional and illegal”. 2 Following Ugulava’s release and re-aarest within one day, the Constitutional Court has since been unable to deliver another judgment on his case, allegedly due to political pressure. 3 The Court’s justices have also stated that they could not deliver a judgment unless a proper investigation surrounding the political pressure exerted upon them is carried out. The same applies to the so-called “Cable Case” concerning the prosecution and imprisonment of individuals affiliated with the Free Democrats opposition party”, reads the address.
MEPs also reminded the Government of Georgia about the importance of the media freedom and pluralism: “We note that similar allegations of political pressure on the Constitutional Court have also been stated as a reason for the Court’s inability to rule on an allegedly long since reached decision regarding a case involving Rustavi 2, the only major pro-western media outlet remaining outside of Government control. 5 Whilst we hope that the Constitutional Court will be able to deliver a judgment soon, we remind the Georgian Government of the importance of respecting and ensuring media freedom and pluralism”
The letter was signed by: Petras Austrevicius, Lithuania; Javier Nart, Spain; Charles Tannok, UK; Anna Fotyga, Poland; Sandra Kalniete, Latvia; Gunna Hokmark, Sweden.The Cables’ Case concerns five employees of the Ministry of Defense that were arrested for allegedly misappropriating 4.1 million GEL in 2013 in a fraud tender for laying fiber-optic cables.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia asserts that in between 2010 - 2011, Ugulava created hundreds of state positions in the company specifically to fund the work of United National Movement activists and coordinators and embezzled 4 million GEL.
Lawyers on both the Cables’ Case and Gigi Ugulava’s Case argue that the articles on embezzlement, appropriation, and abuse of power can be easily interpreted and used in an unconstitutional manner by the prosecution.