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Court Sets Fine to Beaten Poet

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 4
(TBILISI)--Tbilisi City Court obliged a poet Zviad Ratiani to pay GEL 2,000 fine for disobedience and verbal abuse of the police.

Ratiani said, he was beaten by about 8 police officers late on December 24, and the disobedience and verbal abuse were provoked by the actions of law enforcers.

The incident caused a large-scale stir with famous poets, writers and ordinary people demanding the detention of police officers.

The Interior Ministry suspended the duties of only one policeman involved in the case until the end of investigation.

People supporting Ratiani say the fine was unfair. The supporters have collected the money for the famous poet in several hours.

The Interior Ministry stated that Ratiani was drunk and he was an initiator of the conflict. The ministry handed part of the video footage reflecting the confrontation to Georgiaís Public Broadcaster.

The Public Broadcaster showed the montaged video that irritated public and caused accusations to the State Channel financed through the state budget.

Ratianiís supporters and many others claimed the Public Broadcaster the governmentís demand and the media outlet tried to display the poet negatively by not showing a full video footage of the incident.

Civil sector and the opposition demand systemic reforms of law enforcement agencies.