Embassy of Israel in Tbilisi said on September 22 that “it regrets to learn about maltreatment” of the two Israeli businessmen, who have been jailed in Georgia for bribery charges.
“The embassy of Israeli in Tbilisi regrets to learn about maltreatment of the two Israeli citizens, Ron Fuchs and Zeev Frenkel, in jail. Letters of concern and protests regarding the above mentioned maltreatment were sent to Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Public Defender of Georgia,” the embassy said in a statement on its website.
The Georgian-language version of the same statement on the embassy’s website uses word “indignation”, instead of “regret”.
Ron Fuchs’ Georgian lawyer Archil Kbilashvili said he had learnt from his client that he was mistreated and verbally abused by masked men in black uniforms in his cell for several times between September 17 and September 19. Kbilashvili says that there have not been cases of mistreatment of his client before these incidents.
Fuchs, who has a long-standing multi-million dispute with the Georgian government, was arrested together with his associate Zeev Frenkel in Batumi on October 14, 2010 and charged with an attempted bribery of deputy finance minister. In April Fuchs was sentenced to seven years in jail and fined with GEL 500,000 and Frenkel was sentenced to six and a half years and fined with GEL 100,000; in July the Court of Appeals upheld the verdict.
The two men insist charges against them were fabricated and that they became victims of the Georgian government’s “plot” aimed at forcing Fuchs to reject his multi-million claim against Georgia, which he had won in the international arbitration.