Hundreds were gathered outside Rustavi 2 TV office in support of the broadcaster on October 22, 2015. Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/Civil.ge
A judge of Tbilisi City Court, presiding over Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute case, said on Thursday the hearing will continue on October 26.
The court heard on Thursday series of motions from the parties – legal representatives of Rustavi 2 TV and its current owners and of a plaintiff, Kibar Khalvashi, a former owner of the most popular Georgian broadcaster, who wants to reclaim Rustavi 2 TV shares he owned in 2004-2006.
One of the motions filed by the respondents on Thursday was a request to recuse judge Tamaz Urtmelidze, which was declined. Rustavi 2 TV lawyers tried in vain to recuse the judge at the previous hearing too.
On October 21, when Rustavi 2 TV head, Nika Gvaramia, alleged that he was blackmailed by the government, he also said that the final verdict in favor of the plaintiff was expected at Thursday’s hearing; he said that he would resist any court verdict that would order change of Rustavi 2 TV ownership, condemning the court hearing as part of government-orchestrated attempt to take over opposition-minded broadcaster. He also called on supporters to rally outside the Rustavi 2 TV headquarters in show of support.
Tents were placed in the yard of Rustavi 2 TV headquarters and blankets brought as demonstrators were saying that they were ready to keep vigil in order to protect the broadcaster from what they say is government’s attempt to take over the most popular and opposition-minded television station. Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/Civil.ge
“Based on what information do they make these [statements] about verdict, which is not yet delivered and at this stage, when we only have written pieces of evidence and when there we have not yet moved to the stage of oral arguments?” judge Urtmelidze said at the hearing on Thursday.
“I can say it directly that I will need at least several days to deliver a final verdict after we finish hearing of the case on its merits,” the judge added.
Meanwhile on Thursday, hundreds of people were gathered outside Rustavi 2 TV headquarters in Tbilisi, as well as outside the court building, who were saying that they will defend the TV station and resist what they say is government’s attempt to take over Rustavi 2 TV.
Deputy head of Rustavi 2 TV and an anchor of broadcaster’s main news program, Zaal Udumashvili, addresses demonstrators outside Rustavi 2 TV headquarters in Tbilisi, October 22, 2015. Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/Civil.ge
Speaking to demonstrators, deputy head of Rustavi 2 TV and an anchor of broadcaster’s main news program, Zaal Udumashvili, said that the judge decided not to hurry with the verdict and to adjourn the hearing until Monday because “they’ve heard people’s voice.” “The judge had to retreat; he could not dare to announce the verdict,” he said.