“Nika Gvaramia, the founder and CEO of Mtavari Arkhi TV company, is recognized in Georgia as a well-known critic, journalist and businessman.
Since 2012, Mr. Gvaramia has been one of the most public and effective monitors of Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian oligarch who is said to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin regime. He [Иванишвили] is also the founder of the current ruling party of Georgia: Georgian Dream. Many experts familiar with the situation believe that the unfair detention of Mr. Gvaramia is directly related to his criticism of Ivanishvili,” the statement said.
It also states that, among other things, the experts draw attention to the period in which Mr. Gvaramia was detained and point out that this decision was not accidental.
“These politically motivated accusations and arrest could be a blow to Georgia’s bid for EU membership,” the document says.
The authors of the statement refer to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on June 9, 2022, which outlines a trend of rights violations that threatens the freedom of Georgian journalists and media. The McCain Institute notes that the resolution also applies to the charges against Gvaramia. In addition, according to the McCain Institute, the latest U.S. Department of State report on human rights in Georgia mentions the political nature of the allegations against Gvaramia and his influential role in exposing the corruption, crimes, and other undemocratic practices of the Georgian government.
“In particular, the Georgian government recently caused controversy and boycotted the international sanctions regime against Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. In addition, Ukrainian intelligence allegedly revealed that the Georgian government helped Russia bypass sanctions through its territory.
Mr. Gvaramia’s conclusion may also be directly related to his role in exposing the Georgian government’s continued support for the Kremlin. It has also been used as a demonstrative punishment for other independent media outlets, supporters of Ukraine and fighters for democracy in Georgia,” the statement said.
According to the McCain Institute, Nika Gvaramia’s case is a symbol of the struggle for democracy in Georgia and highlights the role of critical and independent media. The authors of the statement believe that the international community should continue to help Gvaramia so that all residents of Georgia have access to “accurate and transparent” information.