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SOD Blackmails the Head of Investigative Group of Newspaper “Batumelebi”

November 30, 2009

Maka Malakmadze, Batumi

Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) continues to oppress the personnel of the newspaper Batumelebi. Now, the police tried to humiliate the name of Tedo Jorbenadze, the head of investigation group, in regard with the sexual orientation based on the stigma in Georgia.

Batumelebi held special press-conference on November 26.The mentioned fact occurred on previous day on November 25, at 8 pm. According to Tedo Jorbenadze, they stopped him near the editorial board. They introduced themselves as employees of MIA and requested to go with them to the building of former ministry of security by car, because the questions were about his personel issues. Tedo Jorbenadze offered them that he had the meeting and he would come later at the police station. Tedo Jorbenadze went in the editorial board and informed the administration of the newspaper. At that moment, they called him on the mobile phone and requested to come to the building of former ministry of security. The administration of the newspaper- Mzia Amaghlobeli and Eter Turadze followed him, but they were not allowed to go into the hall. They took Tedo Jorbenadze in one of the room and showed him the photos, where men were in underwears. They said him that one of the man was him. Though, the journalist did not find himself on the photo.

According to Jorbenadze, they offered him to collaborate with police, otherwise they would send these photos to his sick father with uploading them in the internet.

Tedo Jorbenadze, the coordinator of investigation group:”I will try to request the facts and information, in accordance of the Georgian legislation, which exists about me in the ministry of internal affairs. I think that with the fact which occurred yesterday they tried to violate freedom of speech and interfere in my professional activities. I will apply to the office of chief prosecutor”.

After the Rose Revolution the personnel of the newspaper Batumelebi was oppressed several times. However, the investigation of their cases has not started yet.

The anonymous author sent an e-mail to the newspaper in June, 2008, where besides the abuse, he wrote about one of the journalist –“You will see him dead with newspaper in the mouth very soon”.

According to Eter Turadze, the chief editor of the newspaper, before this fact, strangers followed her car at late night.

The car followed one of the journalists in Memed Abashidze Avenue, where the traffic is one-sided, but the car moved opposite the traffic. The editorial board gave the state numbers of the car to the office of chief prosecutor of Adjara Autonomous Republic.

The SOD arrested Natia Rokva, the journalist of the newspaper Batumelebi on January 23, 2009. The journalist was at the special operation and took several photos. The employees of SOD requested her to delete photos. They took Rokva to the head of the SOD, who was there too, because the journalist did not delete photos. Then they got her into the car and told her that she was arrested. The newspaper Batumelebi applied to the office of chief prosecutor and requested to investigate the case. The editorial board had the audio record, which recorded the journalist. The record is 17 minutes and it shows how the law enforcement officers threatened journalist by arrest. The state department did not begin investigation on this issue. The reply to the editorial office was:” It is established that the law enforcement officers did not do anything illegal against Natia Rokva. In accordance of the facts, there is not legal ground to start investigation.”

The newspaper Batumelebi is going to apply to the office of chief prosecutor of Adjara Autonomous Republic about the fact of his blackmail. Perhaps, they will put the case on the shelf. The journalist has phone number, on which they connected him. We tried to call on this number, but it is turned off.

The editorial board of Batumelebi spread a statement about the incident, which occurred on November 25 (see text on