Following the re-arrest of Gigi Ugulava, the former Mayor of Tbilisi and a leader of Georgia’s main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), the President of the European People’s Party, Joseph Daul, said:

“I am outraged at the news of Ugulava’s re-arrest only a few hours after being released. The Georgian Constitutional Court has already ruled in favour of Ugulava twice, first after he was illegally suspended from the Mayor’s office and held in pre-trial detention longer than allowed by the Georgian Constitution. But the Georgian ruling party, together with Bidzina Ivanishvili, seem to be determined to keep the leadership of the opposition in prison. The acceleration of one of the cases against Ugulava was clearly politically driven, showed strong signs of interference in the justice system and was solely aimed at incarcerating a major Georgian political figure as soon as possible,” said EPP President Joseph Daul.

“The EPP strongly condemns such politically motivated cases and is shocked at the continuous interference of the government in the work of the judiciary. Ivanishvili’s group must understand that the justice system is not a playground without rules. Blackmailing judges, cherry picking laws to incarcerate the opposition and abusing power are not characteristic of a Georgia that Europe wants as a partner,” continued the EPP President.

“Georgia’s European perspective has been seriously stained. The EU-Georgia relationship under the Association Agreement is entering a difficult stage, with further consequences to come until Ugulava and other political prisoners receive a fair trial,” concluded President Daul.