07:47, Thursday, 16.08.2018
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Civil activist won trial against MIA… murderer is still in the street

07.08.2018

Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia started administrative proceedings against Gvantsa Doluashvili, director of the Radio Mosaic and local civic activist for the inscriptions made in the streets of Gori, with which the authors requested effective investigation into Khorava street teen-age murder case in Tbilisi. In parallel to the protest demonstrations with the request of effective investigation into Davit Saralidze’s murder case, protest captions appeared in the streets of Gori – “murderer is still in the street”. 

Police commenced administrative proceedings against Gvantsa Doluashvili – three police officers blamed her in spoiling the façade of the city and requested to fine her with 500 GEL in accordance to the Article 150 of the Administrative Code of Georgia.

Police sent the case to the Gori district court after they finalized investigation into the fact. Judge Davit Papuashvili heard positions of the three police officers of Gori district department, whose clarifications were identical. They stated that during night hours, when patrolling in the city, they saw Gvantsa Doluashvili writing something on the walls. When they approached the place, everybody had gone but saw the inscription “murderer is in the street.”

The only evidence presented by the police officers was the photo of the writing. During the interrogation in the court, the police officers made contradictory statements. 

HRC lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili defended the interests of Gvantsa Doluashvili in the court. During the court hearing he said that the testimony of the police officers was not evidence to prove that Gvantsa Doluashvili made those inscriptions on the walls in Gori; he also indicated at the contradictory statements of the police officers made in the court. 

HRC lawyer noted that commencing the administrative proceedings against Doluashvili only two months after the fact raises doubts that MIA started the proceedings against the civic activist on purpose as she participated in organizing the solidarity demonstrations in support of Zaza Saralidze.

Judge Davit Papuashvili said in the end of the court hearing that the evidence provided by the police was not enough to prove the administration violation and cancelled the administrative proceedings against Doluashvili.

“The court went against the faulty practice, when people were found guilty only based on the testimonies of police officers. Today, the Court said NO to this practice and this process was significant for me; but I will repeat again that the murderer is still in the street,” Gvantsa Doluashvili, director of the Radio Mosaic said after the hearing.

HRC Aleksi Merebashvili said the Judge Papuashvili passed precedential judgment and did not accept the testimonies of the police officers as evidence. 

Aleksi Merebashvili, HRC lawyer: “MIA did not present impartial evidence as they hoped the court would continue old practice and rely only on the testimonies of the police officers to impose liability on the person. In this case, the judge passed fair judgment – did not share the statements of the police officers as evidence and added that police should work harder to present more impartial evidence to claim the liability of concrete persons.”

The father of the killed Davit Saralidze, Zaza Saralidze, also attended the hearing. He requested the General Inspection of the MIA to start investigation against the police officers, who blamed Doluashvili in the violation of the law. 

“Investigation shall commence against these police officers as it should be estimated who ordered them to discredit Gvantsa Doluashvili as she was actively involved in the civic solidarity demonstrations with the request of impartial and effective investigation of my son’s murder case. I connect the administrative proceedings against her with her civic activism; they wanted to oppress her. Similar police officers shall not work for the MIA because they insult the uniform of the police officers,” Zaza Saralidze said.

Before the court hearing, representatives of the civic society held demonstration in front of the Gori district court – “MIA Start with Apology.” They said the police officers’ testimonies were not valid evidence and stated that administrative proceedings started to oppress civic activism and freedom of expression. 


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