Responding to the news that a court in Georgia has sentenced Nika Gvaramia, the owner of Mtavari TV, to three-and-a-half years in prison, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:
“The sentencing of Nika Gvaramia is a blatant act of politically motivated prosecution in retaliation of his dissenting views and criticism of the authorities. He now faces years behind bars as the government ramps up efforts to silence dissenting voices. Nika Gvaramia must be immediately released.
Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the political motivation behind this case, which was designed to stifle freedom of expression. The organisation is concerned that the criminal threshold was not met, as has been confirmed by Transparency International and the Georgian Ombudsperson who monitored the trial. As this case proceeds to appeal these issues must be addressed.
Nika Gvaramia’s conviction highlights mounting concerns over declining media freedom in Georgia and exposes the government’s growing influence over the courts in a number of cases aimed at muzzling their critics and opponents”, - says Marie Struthers.