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Gela Mtivlishvili Won Trial against Irakli Shiolashvili in the Supreme Court Too



Supreme Court of Georgia (Judge Ekaterine Gasitashvili) did not satisfy the cassation lawsuit of the MP Irakli Shiolashvili of the Georgian Dream, where he requested annulment of the Tbilisi Appeal Court’s judgment. Last year, the Appeal Court ordered the former governor of Kakheti region Irakli Shiolashvili to publicly deny the information, which degraded personal and professional reputation of the journalist Gela Mtivlishvili.

The case refers to the 2015 public statement of Irakli Shiolashvili, when he disseminated false information about the editor-in-chief of the Network of Information Centers Gela Mtivlishvili, after the latter reported about illegal business interests of the regional governor’s family in his April 22, 2015 journalistic investigation.

The investigation described how the family of the Kakheti regional governor used the special vehicles of the Dedoplistskaro municipality administration for the construction of their family enterprise for free and at the expense of the local budget; how they ordered the workers of the cleaning service unit of the municipality administration to work in the agricultural plots of Shiolashvili’s family; otherwise they threatened them with firing from job; how one of the workers of the Ltd Service 2007, Nugzar Jinashvili, died in the plot of Genadi Shiolashvili, the father of the regional governor; how the father of the regional governor misappropriated the state property in Dedoplistskaro municipality; how his mother was using the space in the Dedoplistskaro district administration’s office for commercial purposes.

Before the journalistic investigation was published, Irakli Shiolashvili was trying to bribe Gela Mtivlishvili. He several times sent businessman to over-win him, who offered him a deal but the journalist rejected their offer.

After publishing the investigation, on April 24, the press-center of the regional governor published the video-interview of Irakli Shiolashvili, where he stated that Gela Mtivlishvili, through intimidation and blackmailing, was trying to sign contracts about information service with the Kakheti based local self-governmental bodies.

Extract from the interview: “I tell you again, what is the reason of this situation [criticizing Shiolashvili]. The reason is failed contract agreements; similar contracts were signed in all municipalities separately and in total Mr. Mtivlishvili was earning twice more money [based on these contracts] than the regional governor does. After losing this income, every month he was intimidating us and sending messages that unless we satisfy his request, he will find alternative source of income, which will focus on the discreditation of the regional governor.”

Gela Mtivlishvili several times appealed the regional governor to publicly deny the incorrect and discrediting information. In fact, in 2011-2013 only several bodies in the local self-government were subscribers of the Information Center of Kakheti and total income from these contracts did not exceed 28 000 GEL during three years. In 2014 the Network of Information Centers has stopped similar service. According to financial declarations, the regional governor’s annual salary was 64 900 GEL. Double amount of his annual income is 129 800 GEL that is almost 400 000 GEL during three years.

At the same time Gela Mtivlishvili provided the court with the notification of the Journalistic Ethic Charter, which confirms that regional governor or other has never applied to the Charter against Gela Mtivlishvili alleging extortion or blackmailing fact from his side (Article 11 Part 2 of the Charter). Besides that, with regard to similar facts, the regional governor had never appealed the investigative bodies that was confirmed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Regardless abovementioned circumstances, the judge of the Telavi district court Nino Kordzadze did not satisfy the appeal of the journalist. The court concluded that the “interview of the regional governor was response to the activities of the applicant,” which was follow-up of Gela Mtivlishvili’s article. 

Encouraged by unfair judgment of the district court, Irakli Shiolashvili continued dissemination of disinformation about the Network of Information Center and its editor via different TV-channels, when journalists asked him questions about his activities. When evaluating the articles published by the ICK, Shiolashvili kept saying that journalist Mtivlishvili was trying to blackmail him to extort money, but he had refused him to pay money and now the journalist was revenging him. At the same time, Shiolashvili boycotted the Network of Information Centers after the journalistic investigation was published and did not give comments to their journalists even during general press-conferences. 

In 2017 judge Goderdzi Giorgishvili at the Civil Law Panel of the Tbilisi Appeal Court changed the judgment of the Telavi district court and ordered Irakli Shiolashvili to publicly deny the disseminated disinformation.

Lawyer of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Natia Kapanadze defended Gela Mtivlishvili’s interests at the district and appeal courts.

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