Five members of the European Parliament: Andrius Kubilius, Co-President of Euronest PA, Rasa Jukneviciene, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with South Caucasus, Riho Terras, Miriam Lexmann and Sandra Kalniete.
“Georgia, an EU Associated country, has committed itself to uphold European values and principles, such as democracy, human rights and rule of law. The Georgian people, who are strong supporters of Georgia’s European aspirations, and Georgia’s European partners are expecting the Government and the ruling party to fully implement and adhere to these principles and standards.
In young European democracies, still struggling with post-totalitarian post-soviet habits, such examples as in the Yanukovych-time Ukraine, show, that an arrest and imprisonment of a leader of political opposition, former President or Prime Minister in such European country is immediately sending a warning signal to the world that democracy and rule of law in a given country may be deteriorating.
The fact, that in Georgia the leader of the opposition and former President is in jail, raises the question about political nature of the persecution. Public statements by the Prime Minister Garibashvili only confirm political motives behind the cases against Mr Saakashvili and are totally unacceptable in a European-type justice system and undermine the people’s choice for a European path of Georgia.
Georgia’s European future is at stake. The Government and the ruling party the Georgian Dream at this point bear primary responsibility for this situation and its resolution. They stand before a choice – to keep mitigating negative consequences, fuelling polarisation and mistrust internally and internationally as long as Mr Saakashvili stays in jail, or to return their focus on efforts to uphold the rule of law and European-type justice standards crucial to Georgia’s European aspirations.
The case of Mr Saakashvili has been submitted to theEuropean Court of Human Rights. This is the way to bring European justice to this crucially important for the future of Georgia case and the EU will be closely watching its deliberations and act upon its conclusions. While the ECHR is considering the case, Mr Saakashvili should be released from prison”, - reads the statement.