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Prosecutor’s office airs scandalous video footage

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 16
The Georgian Prosecutor’s office aired scandalous information and video materials concerning the actions carried out by previous Georgian officials. According to the official statement of the ministry, the previous leadership of the Military Police under the Defense Ministry’s subordination, made dozens of secret video recordings of publicly well-known individuals having gay sex and used those videotapes to blackmail them.

“The investigation determined that upon the instructions from the former head of the Military Police Department, Megis Kardava, senior officials of this department had gathered information about sexual minority men, secretly and illegally, filming their private lives and collecting information concerning them,” the prosecutor’s office said. After filming, these individuals were then blackmailed and money was extorted from them, the prosecutor’s office claim.

The video materials were delivered to the media by the Prosecutor’s office and they were first broadcasted by Channel 9, with the individuals' faces hidden.

Parliamentary minority claims that such facts should be investigated by the police and not broadcast through media means.

“No one in the Georgian government ever aired such videos. The only government that behaved in such a way is the current Georgian government. Through airing them, the prosecutor’s office violated human rights, as it is very easy to identify the faces of those individuals who are shown on the video,” MP Irma Nadirashvili said.

Fellow MP of the UMN Davit Darchiashvili stated that the new government of Georgia is trying to form public opinion through such actions and use negative public attitudes towards the former Georgian leadership for its own goals.

Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili emphasized that the humans rights were not violated through the video materials as identification of the individuals on the video was impossible.

Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated that spreading such videos “might be needed.”

“Of course, such facts are really alarming. However, people should know the methods by which the previous government was acting. We are against such methods and we are doing our best to defeat these awful practices,” Gharibashvili said.

Identoba, local NGO, responded to the video materials spread by the prosecutor’s office stating that the new government uses old methods and violates the rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ) people.

“The prosecutor’s office violated the law when it delivered the materials to the media. The action revealed the state attitude towards LGBT people has not changed and their rights are as violated as they were before. The prosecutor’s office should ensure that TV channels stop broadcasting the video footage,” The organization’s statement reads.

Media analyst Ia Antadze underscored that spreading such videos are not in the public's interest.

“When one makes such step and spreads such materials he should think how positively the material might change the public. Those materials that were being spread, has no positive effect on people and there was no public demand for such videos to be aired,” Antadze said, adding that such videos might be aired only in the case that there is high public demand.

The court will rule on preventive measures against the former chief of the military police of the Ministry of Defense, Kardava, who has already been charged in absentia. Kardava is accused of organizing prisoners' torture and for sexual abuse. The documents were sent to the court on January 15, though the date of the hearing is yet unknown.

Kardava is not in Georgia currently. His lawyer says the scandalous video that has been released by the prosecutor’s office is not inserted in the case yet. In addition, the defendant denies any connection with those facts.