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Chechen – Crime, Whose Order is Georgian Special Service Fulfilling

04.11.2004
Chechen – Crime
Whose Order is Georgian Special Service Fulfilling


The Georgian government continues persecution of Chechen refugees. On October 9 this year Security Ministry officers of Counter-terrorist Centre arrested Visami Tutuyev, a director of Kavkaz-Center Chechen news agency, a refugee from Chechnya near Tbilisi City Municipality building. He was not allowed to contact his lawyer and his cell phone was confiscated. After 5 hours’ of detention in the Counter-terrorist Centre office he was released but since that Special Service had been keeping an eye on him. It should also be noted that on the next day of Tutuyev’s detention unidentified people wounded the journalist’s son in Baku. Visami Tutuyev asserts that the conflict was deliberately provoked and aimed at intimidating him.

Kavkaz-Center news agency which was provided with internet service by a Lithuanian company has temporarily stopped operation. A few days ago the agency was prohibited to work on the grounds that it is provoking ethnic and religious conflicts, though the Lithuanian Committee discussed the issue in the light of the journalistic ethics and ascertained that the agency does not provoke ethnic and religious conflicts and that in the materials of the agency there is no information supporting terrorism.

On October 9, 2004 Security Ministry officers of Counter-terrorist Centre arrested Visami Tutuyev, a director of Kavkaz-Center Chechen news agency, a refugee from Chechnya near Tbilisi City Municipality building. On October 8 a certain Lali got in touch with Visami Tutuyev on the phone, introduced herself as an employee of the First Channel of the Georgian Television and they agreed on meeting the next day in the evening. Instead of the employee of the First Channel Tutuyev was met by the officers of Counter-terrorist Centre and took him to the Centre for interrogation. According to the journalist he had been detained there for five hours and during interrogation he was not allowed to contact his lawyer and his cell phone was confiscated.

Next day, on October 11 unidentified people wounded the journalist’s son in Baku, whose injuries were so serious that he spent 5 days unconscious in one of the hospitals of Baku. Visami Tutuyev considers that the conflict was provoked and aimed at intimidating him. He also claims that after his release special services were exercising psychological pressure on him which means that his phone calls were listened to and they did not even conceal the fact that they were watching the director of Kavkaz-Centre.

The journalist’s temporary arrest took place on the next day of transmitting information about his site through the Russian Television. It should also be noted that on the second day of publication Chechen families were searched in Tbilisi by the order of the Interior Ministry. On the same day police and security officers rushed into the house of Geno Djokhidze, Vice President of the Association of Journalists.

Kavkaz-Centre news agency which was provided with internet service by a Lithuanian company has temporarily stopped operation. The Russian Exterior Minister urged to shut the agency down. A few days ago the agency was prohibited to work on the motive that it provoked conflict and supported terrorism; though Lithuanian Court passed a decision in favor of the latter and on October 20, 2004 Lithuanian Committee with request of the court discussed the issue of Kavkaz-Centre and ascertained that the agency does not provoke ethnic and religious conflicts; also in the materials of the agency there is no information supporting terrorism.

Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre expresses major concern regarding the persecution and psychological pressure exercised on Visam Tutuyev, the director of Kavkaz-Centre news agency and also on the members of his family. We also consider it inadmissible to close the site of the news agency due to being charged with terrorist activities and we demand from the Georgian government to ensure the security of the refugee, Visam Tutuyev and normal conditions to go on with his work without any obstacles.

Our Centre also demands appropriate reaction from the side of the international organizations and governments.

 

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