PM Irakli Garibashvili on Saturday spoke again about leaked 2011 videos of detainees’ sexual abuse and accused opposition United National Movement (UNM) party and its leaders of being “architects” of torture, saying that “there is no place for violent politicians in the Georgian state.”
He was speaking at an outdoor campaign rally in Martvili, which was held in support of Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition’s candidate in MP by-election, which will be held in this single-mandate constituency in Samegrelo region on October 31.
Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili and some government members were also present at the campaign rally.
“Several days ago terrible, cruel video footage was distributed, proving how these sick people were treating their own citizens – I apologize for speaking bluntly, many do not like my rhetoric, but I don’t care about it, I care about what my people think,” said PM Garibashvili said, who is also leader of the GD ruling coalition.
“If we don’t say no to violence and dark past, which was in our country three years ago [before GD came into power], we fail to move forward. We should put an end to and say that there is no place for these people in politics; there is no place for violent politicians in the Georgian state,” he said.
“Those things [shown] in those terrible videos… how people were raped and tortured was taking place here in Samegrelo, and not only here… I am asking opponents – should we now believe that such things were perpetrating [by those in] lower level [of government]? No, my friends, it was coming from the top; Saakashvili was the main ideologue and architect of this; he and other leaders of his team were masterminds of all this dirt. That’s why the Georgian people, together with [ex-PM] Bidzina Ivanishvili, rejected them once and for all in October 1, 2012 [parliamentary] elections, and I strongly believe that this rejection will be reconfirmed in October, 2016 [in next parliamentary elections],” Garibashvili said.
“Personally for me a hired torturer [shown on leaked video], who was paid 30 lari for raping a Georgian man, is face of Saakashvili and of the entire United National Movement. These people will never return back to Georgia, never,”
“Such people are still trying to politicize ordinary legal proceedings for example one involving Rustavi 2 TV,” he said, referring to court case over broadcaster’s ownership dispute in which Kibar Khalvashi, who co-owned Rustavi 2 TV in 2004-2006, wants to reclaim his shares in the television station.
“We don’t care who owns this television or whom it will belong. Any kind of television station should operate – that is important for us; it does not matter who the owner of a television station is, but the justice should be restored…. But it should happen through fair, independent judiciary and not through our involvement, that’s why we completely distanced from this process from the very start and we said that it’s a dispute between Saakashvili and former owner of this television station, Kibar Khalvashi,” he said, referring to Khalvashi’s allegations that Saakashvili controls Rustavi 2 TV through two nominal owners of the broadcaster.
He also said that over the past three years Khalvashi sought in vain government’s assistance in claiming back Rustavi 2 TV and “to restore his violated rights and seized property”, adding that Khalvashi appealed prosecutor’s office, the parliament, but the authorities did not interfere.
“But we deliberately refused to intervene in order not to give any pretext for saying the government tries to obstruct free media,”
Garibashvili also said that not only Rustavi 2 TV, but all the other major television station are “opposition” broadcasters, who “follow agenda set by those sadists and executioners.” He expressed confidence that “it is temporary” and media outlets will “realize that people are interested in positive things and progress that is taking place in the country.”
He also said that although initially Saakashvili started “well” his presidency “with reforms”, but then continued with “insulting” and “restricting freedoms.”
“Therefore time is up for them in Georgia,” Garibashvili said.
Addressing supporters at the rally, the PM also said that despite of “mistakes” and “shortcomings”, since coming into government the GD coalition managed to did “lots of positive deeds for the people and for the country.”