Terror in Akhmeta – CSD Officers Threatened People Interviewed by ICK.GE
Gela Mtivlishvili, Information Center of Kakheti
The Information Center of Kakheti (ICK) has been conducting polls on the restitution of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship in Akhmeta district. Now, reports are saying that officers from the Kakheti regional department of the Constitutional Security Department intimidate people who participated ICK’s polls.
The Information Center of Kakheti conducted polls in Akhmeta on April 5 and asked local people about their opinion regarding the recent refusal by the Civil Registration Agency to restore Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship. Video materials from the polling were uploaded on ICK’s website on the same day at 5:38 pm. Most of the interviewees thought the decision to be unfair.
A few hours after the video-materials had been uploaded officers of the Kakheti regional department of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD) called some of the interviewees and their family members.
Zakaria Kinkladze, head of the Akhmeta district office of Bidznia Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition was contacted by some of the people who had received phone calls: “Several people called me and reported that they were intimidated. The CSD officers are particularly active. For example, Givi Davitashvili told the ICK in the interview that Ivanishvili’s citizenship must be restituted. His son works as an emergency medical technician and he might be sacked from his job. I called Givi on the phone and he said he was waiting for Kakha [his son] to come home and find out what will happen with them,” Kinkladzetold the ICK.
Kinkladze also said he had talked to another respondent who owns a shop near the agricultural market in Akhmeta: “I asked her, Nunu, if anybody had bothered her after the interview. She was in shock and said she had been intimidated.”.
According to ICK’s information, Zakaria Kutashvili, a resident of Akhmeta, also faced problems. In the video-poll he said: “It is an inhuman decision. He [Saakashvili] is afraid that Ivanishvili will become president.” Kutashvili’s family members refused to put ICK in touch with Kutashvili, saying he was in the forest. Neighbors of the family said that security officers had visited Kutashvili the previous night.
The ICK managed, however, to get in touch with Givi Davitashvili.
-Mr. Givi, has anybody called you regarding your interview with ICK’s journalist?
-Yes, they called me from the security department. I have to meet them this evening. Now, I cannot hear you anymore, please call me later.”
ICK talked with one more respondent, Mrs. Nunu, the shop assistant, working near the agricultural market, who also affirmed having been contacted: “Yes, they called me.”
-Do you need our assistance?
-Where can I call if I were in need?
-Record my phone number…
-I am afraid for my children
-How many children do you have?
-Two; my daughter works for the police and my son drives a mini-bus.
The ICK found out that it was Dito Kinkladze, officer of the Kakheti regional CSD department, who had been calling our respondents. However, the Center was not able to get in touch with him.
The head of Kakheti’s regional CSD department is Davit Lortkipanidze, brother of deputy minister of interior Gia Lortkipanidze. The Lortkipanidzes originally hail from Akhmeta district.
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