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Police officers physically assaulted editor of Qartli.ge


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Saba Tsitsikashvili, editor of the online newspaper Qartli.ge, blames the officers of the Shida Kartli regional police officers of the MIA in physical assault. The incident happened on June 10, at 3 am, when Tsitiskashvili tried to take a photo of the turned-up police service car on the bridge of the River Liakhvi, Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze central highway. 

The journalist reported that police officers hindered his professional activities, prohibited to take photos and physically assaulted him. 

“About 10 police officers attacked me. One of them tried to seize my phone; the second pushed me and struck on the shoulders. The rest dragged me out of the territory by force. They did not want me to take the photos of the car-accident. Supposedly, they wanted to hide the information about the incident; neither investigation procedures were going on. I crossed the highway and took photos from the other side,” Saba Tsisikashvili said, who published the video of the incident, which shows how police officers interfered in his professional activities and physically abused him.

Two police officers are being identified in the disseminated video: one of them is Ramaz Grigalashvili, who tried to seize the telephone from the journalist as Tsitsikashvili claims. The second person is not identified yet. 
The MIA responded to the incident between the journalist and law enforcement officers and stated that if Saba Tsitsikashvili appeals the General Inspection of the MIA, they will start examination of the fact.
“Last night, officers of the Shida Kartli police department and patrol police carried out operative activities, when the police service car turned over on the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze highway and damaged. Nobody was injured in the incident. Editor of the local media Qartli.ge arrived on the site to cover the incident. Later, he reported about hindered professional activities. Upon his application, General Inspection of the MIA will start examination whether police officers interfered in his professional activities or not,” MIA stated. 

HRC Shida Kartli office lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili will defend interests of the Qartli.ge’s editor. The lawyer said the video-recording clearly demonstrates how the police officers hindered the professional activities of the journalist and physically abused him.
“The actions of the police officers against Saba Tsitsikashvili contain signs of the crimes punishable under the Criminal Code of Georgia. The officers abused their power and hindered the professional activities of the journalist. The MIA shall not only impose disciplinary sanctions on those officers but start criminal proceedings against them,” Merebashvili said. 

Editor of the Information Center of Shida Kartli was invited to questioning in the General Inspection of MIA on June 11. 

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