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Journalist's case under Chief Prosecutor's control

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 26
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor, Irakli Shotadze, says he is personally overseeing the investigation of the alleged physical abuse of Iberia TV journalist Giorgi Gasviani, who said that Borjomi Municipality policemen beat and threatened him.

Shotadze stated that the alleged abuse of a journalist is a very important case.

“This case is under my personal control. The investigation has begun and necessary investigation actions are ongoing. When we have enough evidence, we will take legal measures," said Shotadze, and expressed readiness to meet Gasviani and provide him with the details of the investigation.

Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Mgebrishvili,stated that the investigation was transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office in order not to raise speculations that Interior Ministry is covering up for the alleged abusers.

He said that one policeman, who allegedly abused the journalist has already been dismissed from the police and if found guilty, he would be held responsible.

“The Prosecutor’s Office will find out if the alleged abuser is guilty or not. As for my attitude towards this case, such policemen should not work in our system,” said the minister.

Georgia’s Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, also made a comment over the issue. Nanuashvili said that his representatives are studying a number of cases relating to alleged violence or ill-treatment committed by police officers.

“Unfortunately, the investigation of similar cases are often inefficient and slow; the review of such cases by the court is also often delayed,” the statement of the Ombudsman reads.

The Public Defender calls on the Chief Prosecutor's Office to conduct a comprehensive, thorough and objective investigation and to strictly punish the offenders that are hiding behind the uniform of law enforcement officers and thus commit violence, violate human rights and verbally and physically abuse individuals.

Journalist Giorgi Gasviani accused a Borjomi police officer and his two companions of physical and verbal abuse on December 19.

The incident took place in Borjomi, in south-central Georgia, when the journalist’s car slid off an icy road. Gasviani said that Borjomi Central Department policeman Zaza Khutsishvili and two other people came up and physically and verbally abused him.

The journalist says they were drunk, threatened him with a firearm and said they would arrest him if he disclosed the incident.

Samtskhe-Javakheti District Prosecutor’s Office is investigation the case under Article 126 (1) and Article 333 (3) (b) of the Criminal Code of Georgia.