The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Friday, February 10
UNM to rally to stop Supreme Court ruling against Rustavi 2

TBILISI, DFWatch–Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party are rallying in Tbilisi on February 10 in order to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling against the top people in the largest opposition TV station.

UNM’s Nika Melia said on Wednesday that the party of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili has received information that the Supreme Court will issue its decision sometime February 10 and 15, and holding such a rally is meant as an act of solidarity with the judges who, according to the UNM narrative, have been under constant pressure from authorities to silence the biggest opposition media outlet in the country.

Nika Melia did not specify what his sources are for this information.

He called on supporters to join the rally on February 10 to protest the violations against the independence of the courts.

A few days ago, two Supreme Court judges said they have been subject to pressure in the Rustavi 2 case. The Prosecutor’s Office (POG) claims they complained to law enforcers about supposed psychological pressure from a former deputy chief prosecutor, Davit Sakvarelidze, who lives in Ukraine and is one of Saakashvili’s closest allies.

The opposition and Rustavi 2’s current management claim the pressure comes from the State Security Agency (SUSI), which is also responsible for producing false evidence against Davit Sakvarelidze.

The Supreme Court is to decide a private lawsuit against Rustavi 2 filed by one of the company’s former owners, Kibar Khalvashi, who claims he was forced to give up his ownership of the TV company during the Saakashvili presidency. He won in both Tbilisi City Court and the Appeals Court.

If the businessman wins the case in the Supreme Court, which is the final recourse in the country’s judiciary, he will take over the company and install new management.

Khalvashi has been accused of acting on orders from and being backed by the authorities; winning the lawsuit might therefore mean that Rustavi 2 loses its editorial independence, according to the UNM and some analysts.

Rustavi 2 is a strong supporter of Saakashvili’s party and a critical voice of the government. (

Illuminated zebra crossings to promote road safety in Tbilisi

Illuminated pedestrian crossings are popping up in suburbs all over Georgia’s capital to bring attention to walkways and raise awareness of road safety in Tbilisi.

Located in the Didube district, the city’s first illuminated zebra crossing was unveiled this morning to drivers and pedestrians.

“Proper visibility during night hours is very important in terms of road safety. If pedestrians wear dark colour clothes it is very difficult for drivers to notice that someone is crossing the road. Such illuminated zebra crossings will help drivers to better spot [and be aware of] pedestrians,” said Eka Laliashvili of the Georgia Alliance for Safe Roads.

The illumination of the crossing was initiated by head of Transport Municipality Service of Tbilisi City Hall Mamuka Mumladze. The same pedestrian crossing was painted in bright hues last year by Didube District Administration employees together with students of the Tbilisi Academy of Arts last week.

At that time, British newspaper The Guardian ranked the zebra crossing the second most creative crosswalk in the world. A zebra crossing in Chile was ranked first in the list. (

Giorgi Mgebrishvili holds meeting with his Swedish colleague

At the invitation of Giorgi Mgebrishvili, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has hosted the Minister of Home Affairs of Sweden, Anders Ygeman, and a Swedish National Police Delegation within the frames of an official visit.

The Swedish and Georgian counterparts signed an “Agreement on Cooperation in the Law Enforcement Sphere between the governments of Georgia and Sweden” based on which the existing cooperation between the two countries law enforcement agencies will be intensified.

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia expressed his gratitude towards the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Justice of Sweden for their contributions in the process of Georgia's visa-liberation and overall Euro-integration.

As stated by Giorgi Mgebrishvili, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and law enforcement agencies of the Kingdom of Sweden have recently formed a successful cooperation in the police sphere. At the meeting, the fruitful cooperation of the Georgian police attache in Sweden was outlined, providing fast and efficient cooperation with Swedish National Police. According to Giorgi Mgebrishvili, the appointment of police attaches in partner states brought positive results with regards to the enhancement of police cooperation in the sphere of the fight against the organized crime.

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia has also discussed plans of future cooperation development within the frames of EUROPOL. Within the frames of EUROPOL, our cooperation will be based on the agreement between EUROPOL and Georgia on Operative and Strategic Partnership which was recently approved by the European Parliament at the plenary session. After enactment of the agreement Georgia will become EUROPOL’s operative partner –stated Giorgi Mgebrishvili.

Within the frames of the visit, members of the delegation, as well as the deputy head of the Swedish national police, will hold work meetings with representatives of the Central Criminal Police Department, the Interpol National Central Bureau and visit the Emergency Response Center 112. (

GPB General Director waiting for alternative action plan

Vasil Maghlaperidze, General Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), is waiting for an alternative action plan to be presented by Initiative Group.

The Initiative Group established at the GPB is working on an alternative action plan of GPB development. The document will be presented to the GPB Board of Trustees.

Members of the Board of Trustees of GPB will meet with GPB General Director on February 9. Talks will be held in open format and the meeting with be attended by journalists as well.

The Board members say that the 3-year action plan of the GPB’s development and transformation, presented by General Director on February 6, generates many questions and that they expect answers. The Board is especially interested in the volume of funds spent on the equipment out of 410 million GEL. (