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Journalist Filed Administrative Suit to the Minister of Interior

10.07.2012

Information Center of Kakheti

Journalist Gela Mtivlishvili of the Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti filed administrative suit to the Minister of Internal Affairs. Journalist requests May 20, 2012 video-footage from the video-cameras installed at the entrance and reception of the Tianeti Police Office.

On May 22, 2012 I petitioned to the responsible person for the release of public information at the MIA and based on the Georgian law I requested information about my personal data preserved at the MIA. Namely, I requested footage of video-camera installed at the entrance and first hall of Tianeti police station on May 20, 2012. On May 28, 2012 the Ministry replied to me and refused to provide me with the requested information stating “footage of control video-cameras installed at the entrance and first hall of the Tianeti police station is not your personal data.” The Ministry confirmed in its reply that it stores footage about me but does not release it based on the allegation that it is not personal data,” Gela Mtivlishvili stated.

Representatives of the Georgian young Lawyers’ Association clarified that in accordance to the Article 41 of the Georgian Constitution, Every citizen of Georgia shall have the right to become acquainted, in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law, with the information about him/her stored in state institutions. In accordance to Article 21 Part 5 of the Law of Georgia about Protection of Personal Data, every person has right to become acquainted with personal data about him/her stored in state agency and to receive copies of the information for free except the data whose release is paid under the Georgian law.

“Besides that, in accordance to the Article 2 “a” of the same law, any information is personal data if it is related with identified or identifiable physical person. The person is identifiable if she/he can be identified directly or indirectly, by identification number of physical, physiological, psychological, economic, culture or social features; video-footage is personal data and it is confirmed by Article 12 of the same law,” the GYLA representatives stated.

On May 20, Tianeti police officers with the leadership of deputy chief police officer Mamuka Shalamberidze detained journalist Gela Mtivlishvili, head of ICMM, when he was implementing professional activities. Journalist had arrived in Tianeti to prepare news story about oppression on the supporters of Georgian Dream. Police officers dragged him into the police office under physical force, Mamuka Shalamberidze beat him in the stomach and head, seized video camera from him and erased photo and video footage of the incident. The journalist spent about one hour in the police office, he felt bad and ambulance took him to Tianeti hospital.

Journalist applied to Chief Prosecutor’s Office on May 21 and requested to launch investigation on his case. According to the Shida Kartli and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regional prosecutor’s office, investigation was launched on May 30. The criminal case was launched under Article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia that is exceeding official power by an officer or equal thereto that has inflicted a substantial damage to the right of a natural or legal person, legal public or state interest. Crime is punished by fine or imprisonment up to three years, by deprivation of the right to occupy a position or pursue a particular activity for the term not in excess of three years.

On June 13, Human Rights International Federation (FIDH) spread statement about arbitrary detention of the journalists and called upon the government of Georgia to guarantee physical and psychological integrity of Gela Mtivlishvili and all human rights defenders; to carry out a prompt, effective and impartial criminal investigation into the above-mentioned events, the results of which should be made public, in order to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.

After investigator questioned the journalist and eye-witness of the incident Rusudan Sisauri– manager of the Georgian Dream’s Tianeti office, the investigation process froze. The journalist has not yet found victimized.

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