US imposes sanctions on officials in Georgia supporting foreign agent law

General news correspondent
Georgian police used rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas to disperse people protesting against the foreign agent law / Photo: Shutterstock

The United States has imposed sanctions on several dozen citizens of Georgia, including multiple MPs, for “undermining democracy” and the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. This move followed the adoption of the foreign agent law by Georgian authorities, The Associated Press reported.

The U.S. has introduced visa restrictions against Georgian citizens deemed involved in human rights violations and undermining democracy in the country.

Even though Matthew Miller, the official spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, didn’t reveal any names, the sanctions list may include 20 to 30 officials, deputies from the ruling party Georgian Dream (the initiator of the foreign agent law), law enforcement officials and some individuals. Family members of these people have also been added to the sanctions list.

Miller stated that the government in Washington, D.C. is ready to take further measures if Georgian leaders do not change their stance.

As the Georgian parliament reviewed the foreign agent law, thousands of people took to the streets of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, claiming that the draft law mimicked the Russian foreign agent law and could hinder the country from joining the EU. To disperse the protesters, local police used rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas.

Despite mass protests since April, on June 3, Speaker of Parliament Shalva Papuashvili announced that he had signed the law on foreign influence transparency, which the parliament adopted on May 14. Although President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the law four days later, calling it the “Russian” law and describing it as unconstitutional, the parliament managed to override the president’s veto on May 28.

On May 24, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. would introduce visa restrictions against those politicians in Georgia who were behind the law.

According to the foreign agent law, all non-governmental organizations and media outlets in Georgia must register as “foreign agents” if more than 20% of their funding comes from abroad. Otherwise, they may be fined.

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