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MIA Partly Acknowledged Damage of Journalists during May 26 Dispersal

16.12.2011

Gela Mtivlishvili

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia partly agreed with the litigation of journalists and acknowledged that they were injured and received material damage during the dispersal of May 26 protest demonstration; thus, the MIA took responsibility to reimburse their damage.

Suitors are: Netgazeti’s journalists Konstantine Stalinski and Tamaz Kupreishvili, newspaper Guria News’ journalist Nato Gogelia, Ltd Newspaper Batumelebi, Ltd Chokhatauris Matsne, Ltd Akhali Ambebi and Ltd Radio Center Plus. They request the defendant to restitute initial conditions of their equipment, to reimburse material damage and to pay compensation for their health injury.

On December 12, the MIA representative stated at the Tbilisi City Court that they acknowledge the part of their suit about health injury. As for the argument about damaged equipment, the MIA claims it is impossible to restitute their equipment in the initial for because the MIA cannot return the exactly same equipment to applicants, and the recordings in the damaged cameras cannot be restituted either. More precisely, the Ministry acknowledged injury of journalists Konstantine Stalinski, Tamaz Kupreishvili and Nato Gogelia. They also accepted the suit of the Newspaper Batumelebi about two video-cameras and suit of the Ltd Akhali Ambebi about one flipchart which were seized from journalists during the dispersal.

MIA representatives think Nato Gogelia’s complaint about seizure of her cell-phone shall not be satisfied as well as suits of the Ltd Chokhatauris Matsne and Ltd Akhali Ambebi on reimbursement of the damage.

Judge Tea Tadashvili from the Administrative Collegium of the Tbilisi City Court will announce judgment on the case on December 26, at 11:00 am.

I kindly remind you that special unit dispersed protest rally organized by the Public Assembly in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi on May 26. Other journalists were also injured during the dispersal besides applicant journalists; the total number of victimized journalists was 18. Riot police officers sieged correspondents and beat them with clubs; some of them received numerous injuries by rubber bullets. Several journalists were even arrested.

Riot police officers physically assaulted correspondent of the news agency Interpresnews Darejan Paatashvili. The journalist showed her badge to the officers but the officer grabbed the badge from her neck and the second police officer tried to suffocate her.

Video camera of Interpresnews’ correspondent Malkhaz Chkadua was broken; his documents were seized, after what Chkadua was detained and taken to Digomi police station. The journalist was detained during one and half hour and police officers were insulting him. “One more journalist and I were sieged by riot police officers. They were beating us with clubs in the head. I was shouting that I was a journalist but they did not stop. Then they took us to Digomi police station which I left one and half hour later,” said Malkhaz Chkadua.

Two correspondents of the news agency Expresnews Ana Gabunia and Tengo Okujava were also detained. Okujava was released soon but Ana Gabunia remained in the detention till next morning.

Two journalists of the news agency Pirveli Telara Gelantia and Khatuna Gagnidze were also beaten.

Newspaper Resonance’s journalist Zaira Mikatadze was also insulted and assaulted.

Journalists of the newspaper Asaval-Dasavali Beka Sivsivadze and Giorgi Mamatsashvili were also injured during the dispersal. Beka Sivsivadze had various injuries on the body caused by rubber bullets. “We told them several times that we were journalists but they started beating us stronger after they learned about our profession. We were lying on the ground and they were beating us with truncheons. About 30 rubber bullets were shot at me,” said Beka Sivsivadze.

Special riot police officers beat Netgazeti’s journalist Tamaz Kupreishvili whose video-camera was also seized.

Nino Kakhishvili from Netgazeti was poisoned with gas. Doctors assisted her in ambulance after what she was taken to police station where she spent about one hour.

Video-camera was seized from Netgazeti’s another journalist Nestan Tsetskhladze; journalist Kote Stalinski was also injured.

Riot police officers were kicking Guria News’ journalist Nato Gogelia and seized photo-camera from her. Media.ge’s representative witnessed the fact.

Police officer physically assaulted the editor of the Media.ge Davit Mchedlidze in Jorjadze Street and did not allow him to perform his professional activities.

Riot police officers physically assaulted journalist Diana Khoperia from the Media Union “Obiektivi”, as a result she had several stitches on the head.

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