US sanctions 4 Georgian judges for involvement in ‘significant corruption’

The United States on April 5 barred four Georgian judges and their immediate family members from entering the U.S. “due to their involvement in significant corruption.”

The four officials were named as Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, Irakli Shengelia, and Valerian Tsertsvadze.

According to the State Department, the judges “abused their positions as court Chairmen and members of Georgia’s High Council of Justice, undermining the rule of law and the public’s faith in Georgia’s judicial system.”

The decision comes amid recent protests that erupted in Georgia in response to a Russian-inspired “foreign agents” draft law that was passed in its first reading in the Georgian parliament on March 7.

The U.S Embassy in Georgia said the legislation was “incompatible with the people of Georgia’s clear desire for European integration and its democratic development” and called March 7 “a dark day for Georgia’s democracy.”

The State Department in its press release on the travel ban reiterated its commitment to upholding democracy and rule of law in Georgia, promising to “continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain.”