12:51, Thursday, 03.12.2020
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Court Discusses Case of Journalist Zviad Khujadze

Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

The case on journalist Zviad Khujadze was sent to the court from the prosecutor’s office. The head of the news room of the radio “Old City” appealed to the Tskaltubo district court after the prosecutor released resolution. The journalists clarified that the resolution is groundless and the case shall be investigated by the Kutaisi district prosecutor’s office again.

The case is about a conflict between the journalist from Kutaisi and a local official. The head of the culture department at the Kutaisi city administration initially insulted and then physically assaulted the journalist. The case of the victim was discussed by almost every division of the prosecutor’s office since May of 2009; finally Kutaisi district prosecutor’s office refused to start a criminal prosecution on the case.

“Although we hold evidence on the crime, the prosecutor’s office did not qualify the case in accordance to Article 154 of the Criminal Code of Georgia; thus they did not admit that the official interfered in the professional activities of the journalist. The prosecutor’s office explained their refusal by claiming that the incident did not have anything to do with the professional activities of the journalist. Though, the official had physically assaulted the journalist,” said Tamar Gurchiani, a lawyer from the Young Lawyers Association.

The disagreement between the journalist and the local official followed the live program on the Radio “Old City”. Several days later, the head of the culture department took Zviad Khujadze out of the city by car and assaulted him. The incident happened in May 2009 on the Kutaisi-Tskaltubo road.

“We requested the prosecutor’s office to start a new and impartial investigation. After several petitions, they released a resolution and refused to start a criminal prosecution. We reminded different departments of the prosecutor’s office about the situation and requested them to pay attention to case materials. After their inadequate reaction, we appealed to the court,” said Zviad Khujadze.

The legal center for media within the GYLA has taken up the case. The case was qualified as oppression and interference in the professional activities of the journalist by the local official.

According to the project coordinator Tamar Gurchiani “Zviad Khujadze’s case might become the basis to request amendments to the Article 154 of the Criminal Code of Georgia; we will provide concrete recommendations within this project.”

 The attorneys request the Tskaltubo district court to annul the resolution of the prosecutors’ office and to send the case materials to the prosecutor’s office in their suit they have brought last week. According to their clarification, the suit is grounded and the court shall pass fair decision.
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