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Ruling authorities react angrily to revelations about May 26 events

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 8
The results of the British-led forensic tests on one of the persons who died during the May street rallies, presented by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association ( GYLA) were—according to authorities--overly negative. Authorities accuse GYLA of partiality. Responding to these comments GYLA has published its "answer on the answer" and according to media sources may initiate a court case against one of the majority representatives.

A senior ruling party lawmaker, Goka Gabashvili, slammed GYLA and accused the legal advocacy group of knowingly disseminating “lies” about the circumstances of the death of a protester, Nika Kvintradze following the break up of the rallies by anti-government police on May 26.

“The organization, which portrays itself as an independent and credible one, allows itself to disseminate such lies, to disseminate such information, which, I am sure, they know are absolute lies, absolute fabrications and slander,” MP Gabashvili stated. He emphasized that “They will definitely have to apologize for disseminating this information; otherwise we can consider that it is not an independent non-governmental organization, but simply a part of political games and disinformation like that usually disseminated by political parties.”

According to fellow MP, Akaki Minashvili, GYLA is trying to make political points using Kvintradze’s issue. "Society should stop making political points at the expense of a human tragedy . He was not detained by the police and the information was confirmed by his relatives and friends," Minashvili said.

Supposedly Gabashvili is the MP to whom the organization refers in its appeal to the court “for slandering the organization." As the Press Service of GYLA told The Messenger, “We have not yet appealed to the court, but may do so. However it is not yet decided.” GYLA made additional explanations regarding the information given out by them on September 6: “First of all, GYLA would like to stress that the information released is based on the findings of an independent forensic analysis bureau, which explicitly indicates that images on photo and video materials submitted by GYLA belong to one and the same person. Therefore, MIA’s allegation that GYLA has intentionally distorted facts is groundless."

GYLA stated that MIA made statements about the organization without examining the findings of the forensic image analysis, a priori ruling out the credibility of the evidence and declaring that GYLA distorted facts. “In its statement MIA maintains that a person in the photograph (which was examined and on which the organization claims that Kvintradze's face is shown) is Giorgi Bakradze(and not Kvintradze) who currently lives in Kareli. MIA also released a recording of Giorgi Bakradze’s interview asserting this. However, the Ministry’s comments do not indicate that their investigation conducted forensic photo analysis to identify the person. The Ministry’s statement makes it clear that the efforts of their investigation was limited to Giorgi Bakradze’s statement and his visual comparison with photos--then declared the criminal case closed.”

Despite the official’s allegations that the person in the photos is not Kvintradze, GYLA declares it is ready to submit Giorgi Bakradze’s photos to the bureau of forensic analysis and obtain a substantiated decision on the issue. GYLA believes that it is necessary to renew the investigation into Kvintradze’s case and properly examine and evaluate all facts and evidence. Furthermore, due to the high public interest in the case, the investigation procedure must be made public, such as photo/video material of bodies found at the scene, forensic analysis of the electric circuit (implicated by the authorities as cause of death) at the scene, and the findings of post-mortem forensic analyses.

GYLA remains hopeful that the authorities will carry out a comprehensive, objective and effective investigation into Kvintradze’s case, and to respond to all questions that the public may have.