Georgia

  • Georgia: President Moves to Limit Surveillance, Parliament Acquiesces

    The Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia parliament majority has said it won't try to overturn a first-ever presidential veto on the issue of government electronic surveillance of citizens, as reported by the Civil.ge portal.

  • Georgia: Former President Charged with Abuse of Power

    The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has charged the country’s former president and four others with exceeding official powers by retaliating against protestors during his tenure.

  • Georgia: Studio Monitori Wins 3rd Friedman Prize

    For the third year in a row, OCCRP partner Studio Monitori has been awarded the Josh Friedman Prize for the best investigative journalism story in the Republic of Georgia.

  • Georgia: Reformers Wait, While Government Watches

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    Thomas Hammarberg, the European Union’s special adviser on legal and constitutional issues in Georgia.

    By Elza Ketsbaia

    It’s been more than a year since the new Georgian government denounced the previous administration for spying on its own citizens, and yet the surveillance continues.

    Despite watchdog organizations’ concerns and complaints, the Georgian government continues to use the latest technologies to listen to its citizens’ phone calls, read their text messages and monitor Internet traffic.

  • Georgia: Former Prime Minister Sentenced to 5 Years

    Former Republic of Georgia Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili has been sentenced to five years in prison for public corruption charges in a verdict that has been branded by his defense as political prosecution.

  • In Georgia: A Sweetheart Deal Leaves Patients In Limbo

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    Some of the 18 buildings on the hospital grounds are decrepit. Photo by: George Gogua

    By Tsira Gvasalia

    The largest pharmaceutical company in the Republic of Georgia has big plans for a choice piece of property it bought five years ago at a bargain price.

    In 2009, Aversi-Pharma snapped up a huge Soviet-era hospital complex in Tbilisi when the National Agency for State Property Management conducted a privatization auction. For US$12.5 million, Aversi-Pharma bought 58,175 square meters of land and the 18 buildings on it.

  • Georgia: A Deal Done in the Dark

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    Stark lights illuminate rock formations inside the Prometheus Cave in Georgia. Ecologists say the lights may be damaging the delicate environment.

    By Nino Bakradze

    A move by the Saakashvili government to redo a lighting and sound system in an environmentally sensitive cave is leaving many in the dark. The move, which may be damaging the cave’s delicate ecosystem, also appears to have drained the state budget unnecessarily.

    It may just come down to politics.

  • Georgia: Villagers Say Politicians Damaged Lake

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    Armen Sandadze pulls a fishing line into his inflatable rubber boat. Since it was slashed, it leaks and he can't go far from shore. Photo by Nana.

    By Nana Naskidashvili, Studio Monitori

    Armen Sandaze’s house looks out on Lake Tabatskuri, a high alpine lake that is one of the deepest and most beautiful in the Republic of Georgia.

    Sandaze, 43, used to make his living as a fisherman there, like many others in the twin lakeside villages of Tabatskuri and Moliti. For more than 20 years, he rowed out onto the lake to support his family.

    But now it is illegal.

  • Georgia: NGO Urges More Openness for $6 Billion Investment Fund

    A new US$6 billion private “co-investment” fund to stimulate investment in Georgia is not providing enough information about its oversight, its investors, or how it plans to spend its money, says Transparency International-Georgia (TI).

  • Georgia: Ericsson Says It Sold Georgia “Black Boxes”

    The news that Swedish telecom giant Ericsson provided the “black box” technology used by the Georgian government to spy on its own citizens did not appear to disturb the status quo Thursday (Oct. 31) at the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).

  • France: Former Georgian Defense Minister Arrested

    French authorities arrested Davit Kezerashvili, former Defense Minister of the Republic of Georgia, in the southern city of Nice on Monday. A French court ordered the detention of Kezerashvili, whose extradition is sought by the Georgian government, according to the news website Civil Georgia.

  • Georgian Officials Shred Sex Tapes

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    Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs employee feeds a surveillance CD into the shredder.

    By Elza Ketsbaia

    After months of dithering over what to do with thousands of secret sex videos, Georgian officials on Sept. 5 fed 145 compact discs containing the illegal recordings of citizens’ sex lives into a high-powered shredder.

    Some 100 people, most journalists, watched the destruction in a large auditorium at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.