The Vice President of the European People's Party (EPP), Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, issued a statement regarding the arrest of United National Movement (UNM) leader and campaign manager, Gigi Ugulava, at the Tbilisi airport on 3 July. The EPP Vice President calls the arrest of Gigi Ugulava shortly after Georgia's signing of the Association Agreement and a few days before the runoff election an "unfortunate development" and says that it runs counter to European principles.
"The arrest of Gigi Ugulava represents an attempt from the current Georgian leadership to implement its agenda of political retribution against Georgia's main opposition party, the United National Movement, an EPP member-party.
"Mr Ugulava, who is the campaign manager of UNM, was arrested only a few days prior to the second round of the local elections. This unfortunate development comes less than a week after Georgia signed the Association Agreement with the EU. Needless to say, the Association Agreement imposes additional responsibility on the Georgian government to adhere to basic European norms and principles.
"Therefore, on behalf of the EPP, I call upon the Georgian government to halt all such politically motivated actions, which can seriously undermine Georgia's European future and, instead, focus on implementing reforms in the framework of the Association Agreement and, in particular, correcting acts of selective justice," the statement reads.