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35-Day Imprisonment for Cursing President and National Movement

11.07.2012

Natia Danelishvili, Information Center of Kakheti

Police arrested Ilia Suliashvili, Georgian Dream’s registrar for the Program Kardakari [polls to check voters’ lists before elections], on July 1. He was charged for minor hooliganism and the court sentenced him to 35-day administrative imprisonment. Ilia Suliashvili has bodily injuries.

Residents of Chalaubani village, Giorgi and Lali Pridonishvilis, sued Ilia Suliashvili. Suliashvili allegedly verbally and physically assaulted them. However, Suliashvili claims three strangers assaulted him and beat him because of his cooperation with the Georgian Dream. Initial investigation against Suliashvili was launched under Criminal Law for hooliganism but later the case was classified as administrative offence.

According to the ICK, Giorgi and Lali Pridonashvili are relatives of Kakheti regional governor Giorgi Gviniashvili, who is also from Chalaubani village. His parents live there.

Ilia Suliashvili’s mother Tamar Suliashvili said that on June 29 three people attacked them and beat her son in Chalaubani village in Gurjaani district.

“At 10:00 pm police officers came and asked where my son was; I said I did not know but they could not believe I did not know where he was. Then they said Ilia was severely beaten, that he might be dying somewhere in hospital, and they rebuked me for being a bad mother for not inquiring about the fate of my son. They left but returned soon and demanded that I give them my cell-phone. I refused to give them my phone. They returned a third time and searched nearby abandoned houses thinking he was hiding there. Police officers told me that my alcoholic son had beaten a woman and her son and left them alone. They asked how I could bring up such a criminal. They came to my house the next morning as well and started looking for Ilia. Later another registrar of the Kardakari Giorgi Kakhidze called me and said he and Ilia were in Gurjaani.  They told me not to worry. In the evening police said my son was facing imprisonment from 2 to 5 years because he had cursed the entire village, broken the hand of a man, and slapped a woman. I have not seen Ilia since the incident; people say he has injuries on his face and body. He was beaten in the head, his eyes are bruised, and he has a knob on the other side,” Ilia Suliashvili’s mother told ICK.

The incident Ilia Suliashvili was arrested for occurred in front of the territorial entity office and Chalaubani public school. According to police report, about 40 people witnessed the incident. However, the locals have not spoken about the incidents. One of them, Lali Datuashvili, told ICK she had seen Ilia Suliashvili walking along the street with Giorgi Pridonashvili was chasing him. However, she did not know what had happened between them, and did not pay attention to them. Several other witnesses told us that initially others attacked Ilia Suliashvili and he started quarreling with them, but he did not insult women.

ICK requested Ilia Suliashvili’s case materials from the Court. According to his testimony, three people attacked and physically assaulted him.

Ilia Suliashvili’s Testimony

“On June 29, I was at home and went out in the street with a Georgian Dream’s t-shirt on. I am a member of the youth organization of the Coalition. I was somewhere near Chalaubani public school when three young people approached me and asked my name. I told them my name and they started cursing me and the Georgian Dream. I asked them to explain why they were cursing and insulting me and then I cursed back at them. Afterwards, one of them punched me in the face and we started quarreling. We cursed and beat each other; the incident lasted several minutes and then I walked home. At home I thought somebody might be searching for me after the incident so I went to the forest and spent that night there; the next morning I went to Georgian Dream’s office in Gurjaani. During the incident I was alone. I did not know any of my attackers because we had settled in Chalaubani village several months ago and I do not know the local people at all. I received injuries on my face during the quarrel but I will not sue anybody for it; I will not request expertise either. I would like to underline that I insulted neither the president nor the National Movement during the incident. I was drunk during the incident and that’s why our controversy turned into verbal and physical assault. I do not know who Giorgi Pridonashvili and her mother Lili Pridonashvili are because I do not know the Chalaubani village residents. I do not remember whether women gathered during our quarrel because I was nervous and was trying to get out of the area,” Ilia Suliashvili stated in his testimony.

The court judgment states that Ilia Suliashvili “was charged for minor hooliganism, cursing in public places, insulting citizens, and similar activities that breach public order and safety.”

Witnesses – Ilia Suliashvili was cursing village, president, and the National Movement

Testimonies of Giorgi and Lili Pridonashvilis, the former’s wife Maia Gigauri, their friend Vasil Khalilashvili, and other witnesses state that Ilia Suliashvili beat and cursed Giorgi Pridonashvili. He had beaten his mother and as a result Lili Pridonashvili had fallen down. He was also cursing Pridonashvili’s family, villagers, the president, and the National Movement.

“In the evening of June 29, 2012, my mother Lili Pridonashvili, my wife Maia Gigauri, my friend Vasiko Khalilashvili and I were sitting in front of our house in the street. It was about 20:30 when two people walked past us – one of them was Ilia Suliashvili, local resident, and the second was younger person, I do not know his name though I know he lives in Chalaubani as well. Ilia approached me and aggressively told me – You are Misha’s supporter, are not you? Tell me a rhyme about Misha. I told him he was very drunk and asked him to leave me alone. But he got very aggressive and started cursing me, my family and the National Movement loudly in foul language. Suddenly he hit me with his fist in the chest, I staggered, and he continued insulting my family and the ruling party; he then tried to assault me. When Ilia beat me, my mother and wife started shouting. Vasiko Khalilashvili and my mother tried to stop him because he was cursing loudly. About 30-40 neighbors came at the noise and tried to calm Ilia down. They managed to take him away but he still continued shouting. Suddenly he escaped and attacked me, but my mother stopped between us and Ilia hit her hand or some thing else, I could not see. As a result of this assault my mother fell down and Ilia went towards me cursing but neighbors stopped him. My mother got up and took me home but Ilia continued cursing. The above mentioned incident continued for about 25-30 minutes. Finally Ilia Suliashvili was forcibly taken away from the area while still insulting my family members and the National Movement. The other person, who was with Ilia Suliashvili, did not participate in the quarrel and did not say anything. I did not detect any weapon in Suliashvili’s hands during the incident,” Giorgi Pridonashvili stated in his testimony.

ICK tried to interview Giorgi Pridonashvili regarding the incident but only his wife Maia Gigauri was at home and she refused to speak about it.

-Nothing special has happened.

-A person was detained for the incident. How can you say that nothing has happened?

-Maybe it was necessary to arrest him; but it is not necessary to make it public.

-What was the motive of the quarrel?

-The man was drunk and simply could not control his behavior.

-Who was drunk?

-Ilia was.

-Did he physically abuse your husband?

-Why do you need to ask similar questions?

-Where did the incident occur?

-Please, do not inquire details. It happened over there, near the shop. I do not want to tell you the story. I do not like speaking about it again.”

Maia Gigauri categorically denied that her husband is a relative of the regional governor. “Who told you that? We are Pridonashvilis and he is Gviniashvili. It is false information. You should not say that,” Gigauri said.

Nobody commented on the issue at the Kakheti regional administration.

“The perpetrator pleaded guilty at the court hearing, asked for forgiveness, and requested fine as a punishment. His lawyer Koba Kobakhidze clarified that his client had pleaded guilty, requested forgiveness, had never been punished under administrative law, and does not have criminal record. He has worked for the police and wishes to return back to the police department again. He is a 26-year-old man and a 60-day imprisonment is too strict of a punishment for him. So he requested fine as administrative liability. The court concluded to impose a 35-day administrative imprisonment on him,” the judgment reads.

Ilia Suliashvili is serving his term in Signagi temporary detention.

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