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They Threaten to Kidnap Me and To Kill My Child

18.10.2006
samxaradz.gifJournalists are still terrorized by both former and current officials in Kakheti Region. Last week former MP Davit Kapanadze physically and verbally assaulted Mr. Ranaz Samkharadze, director of the Radio 'Hereti'. They threat him to close his radio as well as to kidnap him and kill his child.

Prior to the incident Mr. Gia Korghanashvili, representative of the 'Joint National Movement' Lagodekhi Branch threatened to close Radio 'Hereti'. He complained ex parte former MP Davit Kapanadze about the commentary broadcast in Radio Program 'Mteli Kvira' (whole week).  The commentary spread information about a deal between Local Authority and Mr. Kapanadze. According to it Mr. Kapanadze dropped his candidacy long before the elections, since he was promised the position of District Governor in exchange.

"National Korghanashvili threatened the director of 'Hereti' Mr. Ramaz Samkharadze to hold a 'trial' in his own way if Mr. Samkharadze did not hand video-cassette to him. Commentary bothered Mr. Akaki Mchedlishvili too, Chief of Cultural Department within Lagodekhi District Administrative Board and is about to appeal to the court. We immediately spread the information about the threats on the Radio; however the law enforcement bodies did not pay attention,"-stated Mr. Giorgi Aladashvili, correspondent for Radio 'Hereti'. On October, 9 former MP Davit Kapanadze physically assaulted Mr. Ramaz Samkharadze, director of the Radio 'Hereti'. According to the information former MP threatened the journalist by closing the radio, kidnapping him and killing his child.  The incident resulted into Mr. Samkharadze's slight injures.

"Threat is real as far as it ended with incident. These people can dare everything. Lagodekhi will not soon get rid of mentality estimated during President Shevardnadze's governance.  It seems that old methods of threatening, business settlements and terror still work there"-said Mr. Samkharadze.

Mr. Davit Kapanadze categorically denies the facts of verbal and physical assault against journalist saying it is absurd. 'Samkharadze is a black spot and gambler in Lagodekhi district. The incident has been used to show off and to gain grants"-stated Mr. Kapanadze.

Mr. Gia Korganashvili also denies his threats towards radio. However, MP Guram Kakalshvili who is also Leader of the 'National Movement' Lagodekhi Branch stated that Mr. Korghanashvili is not a member of the Governmental Party any more.

Criminal Case on Mr. Samkharadze's assault has been launched at Lagodekhi Police Station. Mr. Teimuraz Anjafaridze, Head of the Kakheti Main Regional Department within Interior Ministry tries to assure us that he personally observes the investigation and is ready to answer journalists' questions as soon as investigation finishes. Though, he avoids commenting the fact now.

Kakheti Region Governor Petre Tsiskarishvili also commented the incident. "We have presumable information about the accused. Representative of the Government did not take place in the incident; otherwise he would have been severely punished. It was a scuffle between two men-like a quarrel between two neighbors about something having been written. Who should say there is no democracy in the region because of the incident has happened?"-Mr. Tsiskarishvili asked and recalled the fact of severe punishment of the offenders who violated journalists' rights in summer. Journalists arrived in Sighnaghi District to shoot the demonstration held by Non-Governmental Organizations and Nationals broke both coffin and cameras on their heads. "These people served their three-month- imprisonment. What else do you want now?! By the way don't forget that you also were insulting them while quarreling even if you defended your rights,"-said the Governor.

"It is vandal fact which made everyone furious. Besides that it is a crime and proves that freedom of speech and democracy are fading away in Kakheti. We demand law enforcement bodies to respond the incident adequately. Let them create a precedent and carry out at least one fair investigation. The criminals must be severely punished,"-said Ms. Lela Taliuri, Head of the 'Young Lawyers Association' Telavi Office.

Recently Non-Governmental Organization 'Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre' has reported about the journalists' insult to local and international organizations. Eleven similar facts which occurred in 2006 are also mentioned in the report. Organization expresses its concern about increased number of threats and preventing journalists from carrying out their professional activities. It is brought about by Government's disregard of such violations which further promotes the impunity of law enforcers and we urge International Organizations to react on the fact immediately.
 
Mr. Temur Anjafaridze, Chief of the Interior Ministry's Kahketi Main Department has responded to the NGO's statement. He said "the journalists in the region seek for popularity and so many incidents happen because of the fact."

Mr. Anjafaridze's above statement worries the journalists in the region and we demand public apology from him.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

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