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Imprisonment for a Joke

07.09.2007
Gori Criminal police detained eighty-year-old man. He is accused for a grave crime-kidnap and attempt of selling the child. On September 3, Gori District Court sentenced Giorgi Tskhovrebashvili to two-month-pretrial detention. Nana Jamaspishvili, mother of the child, cannot see any reason for the old man’s detention because she trusted the child without any problems.

All neighbors call grandpa to Giorgi Tskhovrebashvili because the old man loves children very much and he never forgets to buy sweets for them.

On September 1, grandpa Giorgi took four-year-old Mziko Jamaspishvili to his daughter, Nana Tskhovrebashvili. The old man and the child took a mini-bus to get to another district of the city; on the bus grandpa joked that he was selling the child. Having heard his statement, certain Bliadze, who was on the same bus, called criminal police department and informed that he was traveling with a man who was selling a child.

Meanwhile, Giorgi Tskhovrebashvili reached his daughter with little girl. However, they left the place soon because mother had to take Mziko to the doctor.

On their way home, policemen detained eighty-year-old man and four-year-old child and took to the station.

Nana Tskhovrebashvili said that her father, who visited her with a neighbor’s child, had joked in the mini bus on his way to her house, that although Mziko was his granddaughter, he was going to sell her.

“Everybody jokes in similar way. How could he imagine that his words would become reason for such accusations? He usually has sweets in his pockets to give out to children. At my place I served the child with cake. When my father rang the bell, I looked out of the window and saw a boy who asked, “Who is that man?” I answered he was my father but the boy did not believe it. He said, “That man is selling a child…” I smiled because I thought he was joking…policemen detained the old man when he left my house and brought to the court. I arrived to the court and demanded to interrogate me as a witness but they categorically refused and kicked me out. I am mentioned as a “certain woman” in case materials; they did not ask me who I was,” said Nana Tskhovrebashvili.

Zakro Shermadini, investigator of the criminal police, visited Nana Jamaspishvili, mother of the four-year-old girl and informed that her neighbor was going to sell her daughter and police detained him.

“I have known this man for a long time and have never noticed anything suspicious about him. My daughter often visited him at home. I do not know what happened and why they detained him…I have as much information as you have. Initially I thought it was a joke but then the investigator met me several times and I thought he wanted me to be a witness against somebody. Having arrived at the court I saw my daughter and the old man there. They invited expert too and examined the child. Nobody invited me to the trial. However I stated to the court that I knew Tskhovrebashvili very well and had never noticed anything suspicious about him. Just the opposite, he treated my daughter very kindly and I absolutely trusted him. However, at that moment I did not know that he had taken my child to her daughter’s. Although he had asked me to take the girl, I refused because I was going to take Mziko to a doctor.  Anyway, the child might have accompanied him without my permission herself.”

Vakhtang Firalishvili, attorney for Tskhovrebashvili said that the detention was groundless and it is violation of th Procedural Code. The lawyer does not agree with the article (Criminal Code, Article 143, trafficking) under which the man was sent to pre-trial detention.

“Joke cannot be used as a ground for detention. In addition to that, the daughter of the detainee, who was refused to be interrogated, is mentioned as a certain woman in the case materials Person was detained without initial warning. They invited me to the trial just before it was to start. As for victim, the mother of the child was not informed about the hearing at all. If she had stated at the trial that she knew Tskhovrebashvili very well and did not consider him a suspicious person, judge would have released the old man from the court room. However, they did not want to hear similar testimony,” said the lawyer.

Shermadin Kapanadze, investigator of the Gori Criminal Police Department, said that victim Nana Jamaspishvili’s initial testimony was enough to detain the old man. 

“Let the mother of the child come and change her testimony. If she does, we will release the old man,” said Kapanadze.

Thea Tedliashvili, Gori

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