PM Gharibashvil Slams “False” Values at CPAC

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili addressed the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest, expressing his gratitude to his “dear friend, Prime Minister Orbán” and lauding him as “a wise and visionary national leader.” He praised Hungary’s defence of its national interests and fundamental values, calling Orbán “truly an exemplary politician (ruler), fighter and striving Christian man.” In his speech, he slammed those who propagate “false freedoms” aimed at the destruction of traditional values.

Garibashvili spoke of the challenges that Georgia, like many other nations, has faced, including the “fight for freedom, civil wars, occupation, economic collapse, and autocratic regimes.” He highlighted the current “dramatic event in history” brought on by the “complex economic and humanitarian crisis caused by the pandemic” and “large-scale military conflict on the European continent.”

The Prime Minister emphasised that Georgia knows the price of peace, saying, “When necessary, we fight selflessly to protect our freedom, our families, and our homeland.” He stressed Georgians’ commitment to peace efforts, saying: “In Afghanistan, we were the largest per capita contributor to the Resolute Support Mission. 32 brave Georgian soldiers died in this mission, and hundreds were injured.”

Garibashvili stressed the importance of traditional values, saying: “adherence to traditions does not mean that we stand against innovation” but cautioning that “evil often comes exactly in the name of innovation.” He echoed the words of Ilia II, the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia, who summarised traditional Georgian values as “God, Homeland, and Human being.”

The Prime Minister warned of forces that seek to undermine traditional values and control people by “coercing false freedoms” and promoting “LGBTQ+ propaganda” and “gender-affirming procedures for children.” He stated that “our main weapon and foundation is traditional, Christian, conservative, family values” and pledged to protect the rights of the majority, who believe in the definition of marriage as “the union between a man and a woman.” He added: “The family is a union between a man and a woman; where a woman is a mother, and a man is a father”.

He concluded his speech by affirming that Georgia’s “superpower” is its “faith, our family traditions, our eternal and universal values,” and calling for unity in the fight against “the evil that comes in the name of false freedom and false truth.”

MEPs Call on Georgian President to Pardon Nika Gvaramia

Several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have written to Salome Zurabishvili, the President of Georgia, asking her to pardon Nika Gvaramia, the Director of the main opposition TV channel Mtavari. Gvaramia was sentenced on May 16, 2022, and his appeal was rejected on November 2, 2022.

The MEPs wrote that they are reiterating their condemnation “of the politically motivated sentence of Mr. Nika Gvaramia”. They write that “critical media voices should never be silenced” noting that “they are an essential element of a vibrant democracy.” The MEPs are calling on President Zurabishvili to consider “activating the power of the Presidential pardon so that Mr. Gvaramia is released from prison.”

The letter goes on to state that “Georgia has clearly declared its European aspirations since its independence. This European path is enshrined in the Constitution, and it is currently at its historical maximum, with the support of almost 90% of the Georgian people, who have consistently demonstrated their commitment to a European future.” The MEPs also highlight that “two of the addressed recommendations [from the European Council] are to undertake more vigorous efforts to guarantee a free, pluralistic, and independent media environment, particularly by ensuring that criminal procedures brought against media owners fulfil the highest legal standards by launching impartial, effective, and timely investigations in cases involving media professionals, and ensure a judiciary that is fully and truly independent, accountable, and impartial along the entire judicial institutional chain.”

The MEPs conclude their expressed hope that the President will take this step “and help Georgia getting closer to its national goal – EU membership”.

Among the MEPs signing the letter are Marketa Gregorova, Patrick Breyer, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Anna Fotyga, Raphaël Glucksmann, Vlad Gheorghe, Andrzei Halicki, Rasa Jukneviciene, Marina Kaljurand, Marcel Kolaja, Andrius Kubilius, Pierre Larrouturou, Miriam Lexmann, Dace Melbarde, Karen Melchior, Sven Miser, Mikulas Peksa, Peter Pollák, and Michaela Sojdrova.

Georgian Citizen Charged with Spying in Abkhazia Sentenced to 10.5 years in Prison

The “Supreme Court” of occupied Abkhazia has sentenced Kristine Takalandze, a Georgian citizen from the village of Nabakevi in the ethnic Georgian majority district of Gali, who was arrested on charges of spying, to 10 years and 6 months in prison, Apsnypress news agency reported.

Kristine Takalandze was arrested in occupied Abkhazia on July 20, 2022 and charged under Article 274 of the Abkhaz criminal code, which carries a prison sentence of 10 to 15 years.

The security service of Russian-occupied Abkhazia released a video showing her arrest and the search of her personal belongings, which revealed three Georgian IDs, a pharmacy card, a Liberty bank card, a SIM card, and a Georgian marriage certificate. They also found a letter from an individual asking an unidentified person to bring back medicine from Zugdidi, a western Georgian town near the region, and another partially burned letter.

The Security Service of Georgia (SSG) noted that all available mechanisms would be used to secure Takalandze’s release as soon as possible. “Illegal detentions carried out by the occupation regime complicate the daily life of the local population and seriously damage the security environment,” the security service added.

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