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Free Democrats protest

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, May 30
The leader of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, says that the so-called Cable Case is one of the most sensitive issues in Georgian-American dialogue.

“I hope the international community will do their best to show the government that they will have to pay a heavy price for sending innocent people to jail,” he stated.

Alasania says the rallies will continue until the innocent people are released.

The notorious Cable Case, which was underway for 18 months until May 16 2016, concerns the arrest of five former Defence Ministry officials who were convicted to 7 year imprisonment by Tbilisi City Court Judge, Besik Bugianishvili.

They were accused of misspending more than 4 million GEL from the state budget in an alleged sham tender in 2013 on laying fibre optic cables and procuring networking equipment.

This case resulted in the sacking of then-Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, who stated his employees were innocent and the arrest was an attack on the Ministry, himself, and Georgia’s foreign course.

The Free Democrats and the lawyers of the convicted are going to appeal the verdict to the Appeals Court. Meanwhile, they continue meetings concerning the issue. Lately they have been meeting with diplomats, including European Union (EU) representatives.

According to the Free Democrats, EU representatives are going to study the case more thoroughly.

“They are concerned and are closely watching the issue, for the case is the most important in terms of assessing the justice system in Georgia,” said Aleksi Petriashvili from the Free Democrats after the meeting.

The United States (US) Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, also commented on the issue, saying the independence of the court is very important for any democratic country.

“The US wants to see that Georgia has become a free and democratic country and for any democratic country the main aspect is an independent court, free from political interference,” said the Ambassador.

The majority denies they have any influence on the courts. They say that since the process is not finished yet, any political party should refrain from making political comments.