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16 Apr, 2024 15:12

RT journalist briefly detained in Georgia

Correspondent Donald Courter was stopped in the transit zone of Tbilisi International Airport, ending up expelled
RT journalist briefly detained in Georgia

Georgian border guards on Tuesday detained RT correspondent Donald Courter at Tbilisi International Airport. 

The journalist, who is a dual Russian-US citizen, has been held for about four hours in the transit zone of the airport. Georgian officials claim his documents were not recognized by their system.

The border officials have confiscated the journalist’s Russian passport.

The correspondent was ultimately denied entry and sent back to Moscow later in the day.

Courter had flown to Georgia to cover ongoing anti-government protests. The unrest was prompted by the introduction of a ‘foreign agent’ bill; the proposed legislation would require transparency from NGOs operating in the country which obtain financing abroad. The bill has been vehemently opposed by the country’s opposition; in addition to street protests, the debate among legislators at one point degraded into a brawl on the floor of the national parliament.

The bill’s critics have branded it a “Russian law,” claiming it was patterned after legislation Moscow adopted in 2012. The ruling Georgian Dream party, however, has insisted it was actually inspired by the US Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, with the Georgian version being far less strict. 

Tbilisi first attempt to pass the controversial legislation last year; it ending up being shelved after mass riots, as well as pressure from the US and the EU. The new version of the bill is only slightly different from the original document.