A three-judge panel of the Tbilisi City Court will deliver its decision into Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute case on the morning of June 10, the television channel reported on Thursday citing its lawyers.
In early November, 2015 a judge of the lower court ruled in favor of plaintiff Kibar Khalvashi, who seeks reclaiming his shares in the Rustavi 2 TV, which he owned about a decade ago.
The ruling was taken by Rustavi 2’s current owners to the Court of Appeals, which completed hearing on June 7.
Rustavi 2 TV and many of the opposition parties say that the court case is an attempt by the authorities, and specifically by ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is widely considered to be still wielding much influence on government, to silence the television station critical of government’s policies.
Lawyers, representing Rustavi 2 TV and its current owners, who throughout the court proceedings have been accusing the three-judge panel of the appellate court of bias in favor of the plaintiff and of being under government’s control, do not expect that the ruling will be in their favor. One of Rustavi 2’s lawyers, Tamta Muradashvili, said on Thursday that she thinks the decision “will again be against freedom of speech.”
The appellate court’s decision can be appealed, if the parties in the case decide so, and the final decision, before the verdict is enforced, will be up to the Supreme Court.