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Journalist From Kaspi Sues Deputy Governor

Journalist From Kaspi Sues Deputy Governor

On December 2005, journalist Irma Kitriashvili was on her way home when the deputy governor of Kaspi, Gogi Merebashvili invited her into his cafe. Once she was inside, he both verbally and physically assaulted her because of an article published in the local newspaper, “Trialeti”.

In the summer of 2005, the newspaper issued in Gori, “Trialeti”, published the article “Possessions Hidden by the Kaspi Governor”. The article covered illegal acts committed by the governor and his deputies, including Gogi Merebashvili. 

A local resident claimed that Merebashvili refused to meet with the citizens because he is constantly drunk.

Irma Kitriashvili stated that when she was going home from her work, she met a drunken   Merebashvili, who offered to talk with her in a café he owns, together with the gas station next-door. Upon entering the café, Merebashvili started shouting at her, abused her and threatened her in the presence of the waitresses and other staff.

Irma Kitriashvili says “Merebashvili threatened to carry out various beatings and other acts of intimidation which are so often used against the journalists in Gori. I tried to explain that the article was not mine and had been written by Saba Tsitsikashvili, who worked for our newspaper at that time. However, he continued shouting at me and blaming me for bringing journalists from Gori, supplying them with material and encouraging them to write the articles that I do not dare to write”.

The journalist applied to the Prosecutor’s Office and all of the witnesses named by the journalist were interrogated.  The material was then sent to different places, including Constitutional Security Department in Gori. Eventually, the journalist was informed that a criminal case against Gogi Merebashvili could not be started because the witnesses did not confirm that any abuse had taken place.

At the time of the incident, Gogi Merebashvili was on leave. Upon finding out about the incident, Badri Nanetashvili, the MP and founder of the TV station and the newspaper “Trialeti”, insisted that Gogi Merebashvili be dismissed. Consequently, the governor, Mikhail Kareli, issued an order for Merebashvili to be discharged of his duties. What Irma Kitriashvili now wonders is; if the governor dismissed Merebashvili for harassing her, why did law enforcers not react to the incident? “If the deputy governor of Kaspi is not guilty of a crime,” asks the journalist, “what is the reason for his dismissal?”

Saba Tsitsikashvili from Gori

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