The US Embassy to Georgia said on Wednesday that for 30 years, the US has supported Georgia’s judiciary through programs intended to strengthen its capacity and independence, following recent reports that the judge Lasha Chkhikvadze, who sent the head of the opposition-minded Mtavari channel Nika Gvaramia to prison last week, was removed from the embassy-funded programme in the wake of the judgment.
“Our non-partisan, apolitical support has been provided no matter the party in power. We are confident that our efforts are in compliance with both Georgian and US law,” said the embassy.
The opposition claimed that the embassy removed Chkhikvadze from the list of applicants who should have been sent to the US “due to his unfair verdict towards Gvaramia.”
Head of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze requested the embassy earlier this week to react “to the grave accusation by the opposition,” as it meant that the embassy “committed a crime and was interfering with the country’s judiciary.”
Kobakhidze noted that he was “sure” that the embassy had not done this.
Gvaramia, former United National Movement official, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for abuse of power while managing Rustavi 2 TV.