US sanctions 4 Georgian judges, PM denounces
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that four Georgian judges will be prohibited from traveling to the United States under the pretext of alleged involvement in "significant corruption."
Georgian Prime Minister Irakil Garibashvili expressed his shock over the recent US decision to impose sanctions on four members of Georgia’s High Council of Justice.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that four Georgian judges - Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia Valerian Tsertsvadze - and their immediate family affiliates will be prohibited from traveling to the United States under the pretext of alleged involvement in "significant corruption."
"That was a surprise for us. I have never heard that there had been any issues. If anyone has facts, we are always ready to hear them. We cannot allow any interference in the sovereign court of a sovereign country ... It is unacceptable to make decisions that give the impression of such interference," Garibashvili said following a meeting with the members of the High Council of Justice.
Garibashvili said he took pride in the Georgian justice system and in each judge who serves by protecting its sovereignty and national policy. He added that the government is determined to maintain the independence and strength of the courts.
"As the head of the government and representative of the ruling party, I fully support all the judges. During our time in power, courts have become independent and free of any influences, from the inside of the country or from any other country. We will do our best to protect the independence of our courts and their freedom from all interference and pressure," he said.
Back in March, widespread protests stormed Georgia after the Georgian parliament passed a bill that will curb funding for activists and NGOs in the country.
Following the announcement of the bill, clashes erupted near the parliament building between special forces and demonstrators who had gathered earlier in the day to protest the bill, injuring several law enforcement officers and protesters. Protesters were seen waving EU, Ukraine, and US flags as they denounced the bill.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price had said that that the bill was "Kremlin-inspired." The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the bill on foreign agents as being incompatible with EU values.