Investigation on Journalist’s Assault Has Been Renewed
The Prosecutor General’s Office has renewed the preliminary investigation on the fact of Ramaz Samkharadze’s physical assault after the Public Defender sent a recommendation to them. Samkharadze is a director of the Kakheti based Radio Hereti. The investigation was dropped on December 11, 2006 under the Gurjaani District Prosecutor’s resolution.
On October 1, 2006, analytical program “Mteli Kvira” (whole week) at the radio Hereti broadcast the reportage about the people who were voted for in the elections of local self-government. Davit Kapanadze, former MP was also mentioned in the reportage. On October 9, Kapanadze physically assaulted Samkharadze for the information he spread by TV program.
The victim applied to the Lagodekhi district hospital for the medical examination. The medical conclusion, prepared by the head of the reception department of the hospital, stated that Samkharadze had injuries on his body.
Samkharadze appealed to the Lagodekhi district police on the same day. Gia Lomidze, investigator for the Lagodekhi district Police Department, stated in his report to the representative of the public defender that on October 9 2006, Internal Ministry’s Lagodekhi Office launched a criminal case on the fact. The preliminary investigation was launched regarding the law on premeditated damage to a person. However, on December 11, 2006 on the basis of Giorgi Kokiashvili’s resolution, (prosecutor of the Lagodekhi district), the preliminary investigation was stopped.
The resolution stated that the investigation was dropped because of lack of victim’s cooperation with the police.
Kokiashvili’s resolution stated the following: “Preliminary investigation estimated that Kapanadze’s behavior did not disturb public order…”Thus, Kapanadze committed a crime under the Georgian Criminal Code, Article 125, section I (beating or other kind of damage that could result in a physical pain; though it does not cause serious injuries or paralyzes his/her activities). This crime is considered as a category of the single accusations and criminal charge that is investigated by the court on the basis of victim’s suit.”
Representative of the Public Defender’s Office think that it was unreasonable to drop the case because of lack of victim’s cooperation. We have already mentioned that Samkharadze appealed to the Lagodekhi district police department on the very day of the accident.
On January 9 2007, the public defender sent the materials of the journalist’s physical assault to the Georgian Prosecutor General and the General Inspections of the Georgian Internal Ministry.
The Prosecutor General’s office investigated the criminal case on the basis of the public defender’s appeal. On January 23, they abolished Kokiashvili’s resolution and renewed the investigation. Besides that, the case was withdrawn from the Lagodekhi district Police Department and the Internal Ministry’s Kakheti Regional Department was put in charge of it.
The victim appreciates the decision of the Prosecutor General, though he does not hope the case will be properly investigated. “I think it was reasonable to abolish Kokiashvili’s resolution. However, I do not hope that the Kakheti Regional Department within the Internal Ministry will carry out fair investigation on the case. There are a lot of cases of journalists’ assault and harassment that remain uninvestigated,” said Samkharadze.
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti
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