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Beria’s methods still used - The Ministry of Internal Affairs Summons Human Rights Defenders

08.02.2006

Beria’s methods still used - The Ministry of Internal Affairs Summons Human Rights Defenders

Today, Human Rights Information and Documentation Center has organized a press conference to inform media and NGO representatives about the pressure on the Center.

On the 1st and 2nd February 2006, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs visited the office. They entered the office without permit under the pretext that they wanted to get to know the organization’s activities better, but they actually tried to frighten the organization’s representatives.

On February 7th, 2006, major Tengiz Tkebuchava, employee of the Counter Terrorism Department at Ministry of Internal Affairs, called  Ucha Nanuashvili, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Information and Documentation Center, and informed him that the head of the department Gia Gabunia  wants to have a talk with him. Tkebuchava did not explain the reason for the summoning to the ministry. On the question why he was expected there, Tkebuchava answered that they would like to get to know about the activities of the organization in general. On Nanuashvili’s request to send an official letter which would clearly state the reasons for why he was summoned to the ministry, Tkebuchava demanded his immediate arrival without any further clarification of the purposes and reasons for it. Furthermore, in case of disobedience, Tkebuchava threatened to bring him there by force.

“Human Rights reports that are published permanently by the Center as well as the court cases where high ranking officials are involved could be the reason for this campaign. This is now phone calls only but it might continue as well. One thing is clear for me, this fact should be seriously reacted”- states Ucha Nanuashvili and adds that “the same scenery is developed among post soviet countries – attack on Media and NGOs. Georgia has not been able to avoid this wave, although Georgian government is trying to be more pro western”.

The Human Rights Information and Documentation Center was the object of threat and pressure several times last year. Zaur Kvaratskhelia, representative of the Presidential administration, labeled the head of the organization as informer and traitor. Threatening telephone calls from Niko Natenadze, the advisor of the Prime Minister, should also be mentioned.

On December 31st, 2006, the deputy of the regional governor Gia Papunashvili verbally assaulted Gela Mtivlishvili, a journalist from “Imedi” and the Human Rights Information and Documentation Center. The journalist was forced to leave the governor’s hall. Papunashvili attacked the journalist with a chair in order to take his recorder whilst leaving the room.

It should be mentioned that Mtivlishvili several times experienced maltreatment and pressure. On June 22nd, 2005 he was severely beaten by unknown persons; on July 15th and November 23rd, 2005, a grenade was flung into his house.

Taking into consideration all the facts mentioned above, the Human Rights Information and Documentation Center states that the organization is experiencing severe pressure attempting to stop its activities. The organization demands the immediate ceasing of pressure and asks the government to protect the human rights proclaimed by them.

 

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