06 December 2022,   08:17
Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze issues a statement and accuses MEP Michael Gahler of putting pressure on the court

The judge of Tbilisi City Court, Lasha Chkhikvadze, who was the judge in the case of Nika Gvaramia, the founder of Mtavari TV, releases a statement, where he accuses MEP Michael Gahler of putting pressure on the court.

“After the statement of Mr. Gahler regarding the case of Nike Gvaramia in the Court of Appeals, where, in my estimation, he puts direct pressure on the court and clearly calls on the Court of Appeals that on July 19, when the court session is scheduled, to acquit Gvaramia at the very first hearing in order to correct the old mistakes (that is, which I allegedly made), I decided to make the following statement:

Mr. Gahler is a German politician and has been a member of the European Parliament for years. I wonder if he would put such pressure on the judges of Germany and give them direct instructions regarding the result in a specific criminal case. And what would be the reactions to such an action in his homeland?

Of course, the Court of Appeals can make any decision, including an acquittal, and in this particular case, I have no personal, and even more so, political interest towards the defendants, however, in my opinion, the statement of MEP Gahler is a direct pressure on my colleagues.

After announcing the verdict in the Gvaramia case, I had a meeting in the building of the Tbilisi City Court with one of the employees of the US Embassy [Kevin Burke, the US Department of Justice]. During the conversation he asked me about the factual circumstances of the case and told me that the Ambassador was interested why I made a guilty verdict, why I used prison terms as a punishment. In my estimation, it was a request for a report regarding a specific case. After that, he said that unfortunately, my participation in the coming US visit where 6 criminal law profile judges were going and where everything was already planned, would be undesirable and I was removed from the list.

Now some political forces are threatening me with “sanctions” because of the outcome of the hearing of this particular case. I do not want my colleague judges to go through the same thing, who, as it is already clear, will have to hear this case under open and great pressure.

I want to call on political parties, the diplomatic corps, international and non-governmental organizations operating in Georgia to refrain from putting pressure on the court and allow judges to administer justice in a peaceful environment and make decisions on the basis of the Georgian constitution, law and inner faith”, - writes Lasha Chkhikvadze.