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American Journalist Jeffrey Silverman Beaten for the Fourth Time

February 24, 2011
Sopo Getsadze

US former resident Jeffrey K. Silverman was beaten for the fourth time in Tbilisi. As he states to Human Rights Center, all the facts of the physical assaults are connected to his journalistic activity. Silverman avers that his persecution is directly organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Minister Vano Merabishvili and with the agreement of US authorities.

Jeffrey Silverman has been living in Georgia since 1991 and is married to a Georgian citizen. He even has an old Georgian passport. He has worked in many spheres but now is a journalist investigating drugs and arms trafficking. Several years ago he was an editor of the English version of the Human Rights Center internet-portal He also worked for Georgian Public TV and was in South Ossetia in 2008. 

The articles published by his authorship are hard-hitting with critical pathos. Since he is an American by origin, Jeffrey Silverman has asked the US embassy for help but complains that the Embassy is part of his problem. 

“On February 20th, I was severely beaten but this is not the first time,” states Jeffrey Silverman to Human Rights Center, “This is nothing as I was first beaten I almost lost an eye and took 47 stitches. The US embassy did not help me then and not now. I will continue trying.  Americans do not get attack unless it is with some agreement. I was once taken to the MIA building at Vazha Pshavela. They handcuffed me to a chair, beat me about the head and warned me that should I tell someone about it, they would kill me. I was then released. Two days later I settled the score. Later I showed my wounds to American Embassy and the Consulate Officer told me that he could see nothing.  Third time I got beaten in 2007. My problems in Georgia started since 2002-2003 when I went into investigate the Pankisi Valley and found out what was really going on there.

On November 7th of 2007 I was beaten in front of Imedi television. There is no human rights and law in this country, as of this date. It has evolved into a US supported dictatorship. If things do not change soon, the same will happen as what has transpired in Tunisia and Egypt.”

- Can you tell us the details, what happened on 22nd of February?

- I was at Akhvlediani St. (former Perovskaya) with my friend from South Africa. I was beaten when I came out at about 01:00 and left in the street; I woke up in a hospital. I do not remember other details. If it happened only once, I would think it was by happenstance. This is no coincidence, it happens for the fourth time for past 7-8 years. There is no doubt that it is directly connected to the nature of my work.

Did anybody visit you in the hospital?

-  No, nobody visited me in the hospital. I contacted the US embassy from home and asked them to come with the police and said that I would give out information. Police came and opened a case.  However, nobody came from the Embassy.

What did US Embassy tell you?

- The US Embassy never assisted. My passport and nationality was illegally revoked in 2004. However, that is another story.

Could you be specific why you are having these problems?

They may be many reasons but mainly because I have been investigating drug trafficking in Georgia which I consider to be under the direct control of Vano Merabishvili, Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs. This topic is nothing new and has been covered in details by Georgian independent TV Maestro. There is also a role here played with drugs coming out of Afghanistan and how the USG is involved in this business – weapons for drug swaps. I have written about this on various sites and this is nothing new, and one article giving names was posted on the same day of my attack.

Even before I was involved in finding out the truth about the Khurcha Incident that occurred near Zugdidi, regional center in Samegrelo – and how that was staged by the government of Georgia on Parliamentary Election day back in 2008. That little incident was with the support of the Potomac Institute, which is defense contractor for US “dirty tricks” and intelligence operations –it was carried out with the full knowledge of the USG. It was a diversionary tactic to draw people attention away from widespread election fraud taking place in Georgia on election day.

What next for you?

-  I really don’t know but the best option would to seek political status. There are many options and this might be the best forum to present certain evidence to the proper authorities – the courts, etc. I have more rights under Georgian law as it is possible to take issues before the European Court of Human Rights as a petitioner – not the case under US law.  I have requested the assisistance of the Human Rights Centre with my issues with American authorities and to ensure my internationally protected human rights.