Deputies of the Power of the People movement are proposing to introduce prison sentences for individuals for violating the norms of the law On the Registration of Foreign Agents. The initiative was criticized in the EU and the US.
In the Georgian Parliament, the deputies of the “Strength of the People” movement initiated a bill that toughens relations with foreign agents. According to the authors of the draft, for violation of the norms of the law, imprisonment should be provided, which essentially copies a similar bill in Russia. This was reported by Novosti-Georgia on February 26.
The Power of the People movement, which is part of the parliamentary majority coalition, introduced a bill called “On the Registration of Foreign Agents”, and earlier they had previously proposed a “softer” version of the bill “On the transparency of foreign influence.”
Power of the People proposes to put both options to the vote, stating that the criticism of the first draft was unfounded, since it was softened as much as possible, and, for comparison, proposed the second, tougher option,” the journalists write.
It is noted that the new edition was written in the shortest possible time – literally within a week. In the new version, it is proposed to assign the status of foreign agents not only to the media and non-governmental organizations, but also to any individuals and legal entities that receive funding from abroad, with rare exceptions.
At the same time, those who will not be punished will be those who are “in good faith” engaged in charitable, religious, educational, scientific, academic or artistic activities. However, the criteria for the concept of “good faith” are not described in detail.
It is also reported that the registration of foreign agents will be carried out by the prosecutor’s office, and punishment is provided for refusal / delay in registration: for legal entities – a fine, for individuals – imprisonment for up to five years.
Reaction of the West
European politicians have already criticized the bill on foreign agents and said that the adoption of such laws is incompatible with the fulfillment of the conditions recommended by Georgia for obtaining the status of an EU candidate. In addition, serious concern was expressed in the United States.
Meanwhile, Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili called the West’s reaction a “propaganda wave” that misled Western officials. The speaker does not agree that the law is copying the Russian counterpart, since the Georgian project aims to ensure “transparency of foreign funding.”
“Against the backdrop of propaganda campaigning around the bills prepared by Power of the People, which are stigmatized as Russian law, it is not surprising that some concerns are voiced by our partners,” Papuashvili said.
In response to the legislative initiative, hundreds of Georgian NGOs and media outlets signed a joint statement saying that the Foreign Agents Registration Law is the government’s response to the disclosure of corruption, lawlessness and selective justice.
Recall, Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Teya Tsulukiani said on January 15 that the Georgian authorities would not allow the country to be involved in a military confrontation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. She expressed regret that attempts to involve Georgia in armed conflicts are still ongoing.
Leave a Reply