(WASHINGTON)--The US influential non-profit organization Freedom House, which annually assesses each country's degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, has ranked Georgia as a partly free country.
Freedom House Ranks Georgia as Partly Free
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 17
Georgia was ranked among the 59 'partly free' countries. Its score was again 64 on a scale of 1 to 100.
In total, 87 states were ranked as free, 59 as partly free and 49-not free.
The report reads that the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party recently pushed through constitutional amendments that—combined with the financial backing of its reclusive billionaire patron—will make an effective challenge by the fractured opposition in future elections even more unlikely, potentially cementing the party’s control for years to come.
Freedom in the World Report for 2017 also mentioned the high-profile case of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, who disappeared from central Tbilisi on May 29 and reappeared in Baku the next day in detention.
“Perhaps the most alarming threats to democracy in the region involved authoritarian forces reaching across borders to punish their critics. Exiled Azerbaijani journalist Mukhtarli was kidnapped in Tbilisi by men who allegedly spoke Georgian, then was transported across the border to Azerbaijan, raising concerns that Georgian authorities were complicit in the abduction,” the report reads.
Mukhtarli, who has been sentenced to six years in prison in Azerbaijan for illegal crossing of border, smuggling in money and disobedience to border guards, claims he was arrested for his investigations of the Aliyev family businesses.
He also says that with the help of Georgian law enforcers, he was abducted from Tbilisi, where he had lived since 2015.
The allegations are dismissed by the government of Georgia.