On September 30, 2018, human rights defender Vitaly Saparov, 25, was killed in Tbilisi. He worked for the Center for Participation and Development (CPD). For years, he was actively engaged in youth camps and different projects on tolerance and against racism, xenophobia and discrimination.
By now, two persons were arrested for the murder of Vitaly Saparov; they are members of the so-called Neo-Nazis group. Charge under the Article 108 of the Criminal Code of Georgia was brought against one of them, which applies to intentional murder (without aggravating circumstances) and the second is charged under Article 376 of the CCG – not reporting law enforcement bodies about the crime.
Human Rights Center (HRC) is defending legal interests of Vitaly Saparov’s family. There are questions over the process of investigation, which cause serious concern of the organization. Namely, interviews with the eye-witnesses of the murder demonstrated that during the past two years they were permanently calling the information center 112 of the MIA and criminal police and reported about violence facts committed by the defendants but police never reacted to their illegal activities adequately.
It is alarming that hate-motivated violence facts committed by the defendants have not been responded by respective bodies so far. It is also important to note that activities of xenophobic and fascist groups and dissemination of hate in the society is a serious challenge for the State of Georgia.
According to the information obtained by the CPD, one of the reasons of the conflict with Vitaly Saparov and his murder may be his not-speaking in state language with the guests in the café-bar. As the witnesses state, during the conflict they were speaking about the homeland and Georgian ethnicity. Considering that, the violence against Vitaly Saparov was allegedly committed based on xenophobic ground that is fear and/or hatred of foreigners or different people.
CPD and HRC believe the investigation into Vitaly Saparov’s murder case is ongoing with wrong qualification as the case circumstances reveal that the committed crime is relevant to the Article 109 of the CCG. Namely, Vitaly Saparov was killed by a group of people, with hooligan motives, due to racial, religious, national or ethnic intolerance.
CPD and HRC call on the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to pay attention and ensure conduct of the investigation into the criminal case with relevant qualification.
It is essential that the investigation determined the motive of the murder, whether it was hatred or not. It will ensure comprehensive, complete and impartial investigation.
Human Rights Center
Center for Participation and Development