13:53, Friday, 25.05.2018
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Human Rights Defenders Request Investigation of the Assault on Dachi Tsaguria


Aleko Tskitishvili

Georgian human rights nongovernmental organizations protest assault on the human rights defender Dachi Tsaguria and request immediate investigation of the incident. On August 16, Human Rights Center gave a press-conference on the issue. 

Nana Kakabadze and Gela Nikolaishvili from the NGO Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights, Lia Mukhashavria – Human Rights Priority, Irakli Kakbadze – publicist and Davit Magradze –writer and Dachi Tsaguria himself led the press-conference.

At 10:00 pm on August 14, unidentified people attacked Dachi Tsaguria on Betania-Kojori crossroad. 

Dachi Tsaguria recalled: “I was going to a holiday-house in Betania. BMW X5 was standing at the Betania-Kojori crossroad; five people were standing on the road so I could not pass them by. I stopped car and asked them if they needed any help. They looked at each other and said – “that’s him” and tried to get into my car. Luckily I had not switched off the engine, started the car and escaped them. Then I called police and requested to launch a case.”

He connects the incident with the protest rally he had held near Gia Udesiani’s house on the same day and claims the assaulters were acting according to Udesiani’s orders. On August 15, Tskneti police interrogated Tsaguria and launched a case. However, human rights defenders doubt the investigation will be prolonged like it happened in the case of other politically motivated incidents.

Gia Udesiasni is President of the Georgian National Federation of Shooting Sport. His name was several times mentioned in Georgian media in connection with the oppression on oppositionist sportsmen. 

In the evening of June 3 Georgia’s champion judoists Ambako Avaliani was kidnapped by a car in Tbilisi; his whereabouts were not known during several years. Avaliani recalled he was taken to Gia Udesiani’s office near Hippodrome where Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Lado Vardzelashvili threatened him to stop his salary unless he left Georgian Dream. Ambako Avaliani said Udesiani also attended his meeting with Vardzelashvili.

Scandal on London Olympiad is also connected with Gia Udesiani. Judoist Betkil Shukvani early arrived in Georgia from London. On August 2, he gave a special press-conference in the Georgian Dream’s office and said that he had decided to leave Olympic village for Georgia after he detected threat and drunken member of the Georgian delegation Gia Udesiani decided to meet him. Shukvani left the hotel through a window to avoid meeting with Udesiani and he flew to Georgia with the help of his Croatian friend.  

On August 14, human rights defender Dachi Tsaguria held a rally near Gia Udesiani’s house close to the former Hippodrome. 

“I came to Gia Udesiani’s house and wrote on it – “executioner is living here” with spelling mistake in it to demonstrate that Udesiani is illiterate person. Gia Udesiani, who is suspected in politically motivated persecution of people, who does not support the National Movement, managed to get hold of the company Ioli, Kus Tba, former territory of the hippodrome and auto-market. 99% of his fortune he gained in suspicious circumstances after the Rose Revolution. The legal owners of the above-listed companies just gave their properties to him as presents,” Dachi Tsaguria said during the protest rally.

Human rights defender Dachi Tsaguria was assaulted after that protest rally.

“Assault on Dachi Tsaguria clearly demonstrates that whoever dares to resist bandit-oligarchic regime of the country, is punished by the government. Saakashvili’s oligarchic government protects its property instead its population,” publicist Irakli Kakabadze said at the press-conference. 

Writer Davit Magradze said that after satellite dish antennas of the Maestro TV were detained, after a lot of people had their rights breached and on the background of general situation in the country, we still hope that government of the United States, a strategic partner of Georgia, will remain partner of Georgian people and democracy and will not keep their eyes blind at similar incidents.

Gela Nikolaishvili said oppression from international organizations is the only solution of this situation because there is no other hope that government will investigate assault on Dachi Tsaguria like in many other similar cases and will not punish perpetrators.

“We must somehow convince society that these criminals must go to prison in order not to continue persecution and intimidation of innocent people. Unfortunately, criminals like Udesiani occupy high positions in the current government and 70% of prisoners are innocent. We must appeal to international organizations and request to oppress on the government to change the situation,” Nana Kakabadze said.

Lia Mukhashavria said “it is not first case when government fights those people who condemns violence, illegality, corruption and immorality in this country. Perpetrators escape punishment. It is not first incident against Dachi Tsaguria. We will do our best to punish perpetrators of this incident and inform international organizations about it. Society shall pay attention to this fact and they must unify their effort to put an end to similar illegalities. When a human rights defender is attacked by day time, it is persecution of the human rights defender and interference in his activities that increases responsibility of both offenders and the government.”

Nongovernmental organizations request law enforcement bodies to immediately investigate the assault on Dachi Tsaguria and punish both harassers and incident organizers under the law.  

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