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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 6
Court hearing leaves Rustavi 2’s future unsettled

A court hearing in Tbilisi as part of a lawsuit about the control over the Rustavi 2 television company ended without much progress Friday.

The preparatory hearing in Tbilisi City Court concerned a lawsuit by businessman Kibar Khalvashi against Rustavi 2. The court previously decided to seize all assets of the company as well as assets belonging to the TV company Sakartvelo, which owns 51 percent of Rustavi 2’s shares.

Judge Tamaz Urtmelidze satisfied only one out of about 10 motions made by lawyers representing Rustavi 2. One of the motions asked to replace the judge because supporters of Rustavi 2 believe he is biased. The judge said freedom of expression is important, but the court needs respect.

The TV company’s lawyers also asked to postpone the preparatory hearing, but this motion was not satisfied.

What the judge allowed, though, was to question an expert witness who conducted a financial audit of Rustavi 2 in 2005-2006, at a time when the company belonged to Khalvashi. The owners of Rustavi 2, who claim that Khalvashi has no grounds to reclaim ownership of Rustavi 2, also say that the TV company has increased in value many times since 2005-2006. The expert will be questioned on October 19.

Khalvashi sued Rustavi 2 on August 4, demanding USD 500,000 in compensation from the company. He also demanded to abolish the property of the current owners and recognize that 60 percent of shares belong to him and 40 percent to Panorama Ltd. Later, the amount of compensation was increased to USD 18 million.

In August, the court ordered the seizure of all of Rustavi 2’s property. The director and shareholders were restricted from selling any property and were also subject to a number of other prohibitions, like reorganization or liquidation.

October 1, the court ordered the seizure of all shares in TV company Sakartvelo, which now owns 51 percent Rustavi 2’s shares.

Rustavi 2 employees held a briefing accusing the government of attempting to shut it down. They appealed to viewers to donate money in order to help them get through this difficult time.

Friday, supporters of Rustavi 2, including the youth group Tavisufali Zona and members of the National Movement Party, held a protest rally at the parliament in Kutaisi. The protesters attacked MP Davit Lortkipanidze from the Georgian Dream coalition, tearing off his jacket and hitting his megaphone. The Interior Ministry is investigating the case as hooliganism.

The scuffle continued inside the parliament, where Lortkipanidze and Akaki Minashvili, MP for the National Movement, got into an argument.

The first regular hearing in the case is scheduled for October 19 for 11:00am.
(DF watch)

Private dies at a military base

Tamaz Tamarashvili, a private of the Fifth AA (anti-aircraft) Company of the Fifth infantry brigade, has died at the brigade military base.

As Georgia’s Defense Ministry has reported, an investigation has already been launched and its results will be publicly declared in the near future. The military police department of the Defence Ministry has been investigating the case.

Georgia’s Defence Ministry expressed sorrow over the soldier’s death, offering deep condolences to Tamaz Tamarashvili’s family.

Georgia’s National Museum joins Instagram

The Georgian National Museum is celebrating the launch of its official Instagram page by hosting an exhibition of photographs taken at museum spaces by five artists.

On Tuesday, October 6, the Museum’s official Instagram account will go live, simultaneously as an exhibition featuring local popular Instagram users Louisa Chalatashvili, Nata Abashidze-Romanovskaya, Davit Tchalidze, Dina Oganova and Levan Maisuradze.

The five photographers – some amateur and some professional – took advantage of special lighting conditions to capture eye-catching photographs of Museum exhibits, visitors and spaces.

Meanwhile the Museum’s Instagram account aimed to offer viewers a look behind the scenes of the Museum and its operations, showing staff prepare for exhibitions, work with archived items and carry out restoration works on exhibits.

In the coming days before the official launch, the Museum started an Instagram campaign with the hash tag museum in focus and encouraged amateur and professional photographers to upload images with the hashtag ahead of the formal presentation of the page.

Next Tuesday evening in the garden of the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia – one of the National Museum’s venues – will feature music by Sandro Tediashvili, known by his stage name TedArt.