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US State Department Sanctions Dozens of Georgian Individuals Over 'Anti Democratic' Actions

By Liza Mchedlidze
Friday, June 7, 2024
The US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller announced at today's press briefing that the US has sanctioned "dozens" of Georgian individuals in its first tranche of sanctions.

Matthew Miller expressed deep concerns regarding the Georgian Dream party's antidemocratic actions, statements, and rhetoric. He indicated that these actions threaten to derail Georgia's European future and contradict both the Georgian Constitution and the desires of the Georgian people.

"The State Department implemented a new visa restriction policy under section 211 A 3C of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Today, under this policy, we are taking steps to impose visa restrictions on dozens of Georgian individuals. This includes individuals responsible for or complicit in, or immediate family members of those responsible for or complicit in, undermining democracy in Georgia, such as undermining the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, violently attacking peaceful protesters, intimidating civil society representatives, and deliberately spreading disinformation at the direction of the Georgian government."

According to Miller, the first tranche of visa restrictions includes members of the Georgian Dream party, members of Parliament, law enforcement, and private citizens.

He emphasized, "It remains our hope that Georgia's leaders will reconsider their actions and take steps to move forward with their nation's long-stated democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. But if they do not, the US is prepared to take additional actions."

When asked about the number of sanctioned individuals, Miller clarified that it is between two to three dozen. He also mentioned that those with US visas will be notified, while others will discover the sanctions if they attempt to enter the US.

Regarding the number of tranches expected, Miller stated he could not provide specifics but noted, "We are prepared to impose additional sanctions and will take all other steps as appropriate."

Asked about the message the US intends to send by sanctioning in several tranches, Miller said, "There is still time for the Georgian government to reverse the trajectory it's on." He highlighted concerns about the recently adopted "transparency law" and the government's crackdown on dissent, concluding, "Our policy depends on the policy that Georgia undertakes."