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Heads of Human Rights Organizations Are Called to Police

12.10.2018

 
On October 12, Executive director of Human Rights Center Aleko Tskitishvili, HRC lawyer Eka Kobesashvili and the head of the Center for Participation and Development Agit Mirzoev were called to the Tbilisi main department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia over the murder case of human rights defender Vitaly Safarov. 

During the phone call, representatives of the MIA police department stated they got interested in the information disseminated during the press-conference on October 11, in the Prime Time.

On September 30, 2018, human rights defender Vitaly Safarov, 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 Safarov; they are members of the so-called Neo-Nazis group. 

Heads of the HRC and CPD stated at the press-conference that investigators had labelled the murder with the ‘wrong qualification’. Namely, 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. 

CPD and HRC believe the investigation into Vitaly Safarov’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 Safarov was killed by a group of people, with hooligan motives, due to racial, religious, national or ethnic intolerance. 

Human Rights Center (HRC) is defending legal interests of Vitaly Safarov’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, that ended up with fatal results – murder.

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. NGOs many times expressed their concern with regard to increased activities of neo-Nazis groups in the country, who are particularly aggressive towards foreign citizens or/and liberals. 

In accordance to the report by the Transparency International – Georgia, it’s not possible to identify the direct funding source of the Neo-Nazi organizations, individual leaders have a direct connection to the Russian government and local political organizations.

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 

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