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Journalist Zviad Khujadze Requests Investigation Now

Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

On December 10 the world celebrates International Day of Human Rights. On December 10, 1948 the UN adopted Human Rights Declaration as a basic document to fight against oppression and discrimination. The Declaration is the first international announcement that human rights and basic freedoms are available everywhere and for everybody. Exactly 61 years later, journalists are physically assaulted in the country which claims to be a democratic one and organizes plenty of events on this day. 

Zviad Khujadze is a journalist for Radio “Old City”. He has been requesting investigation of his physical assault by Gizo Tavadze, head of Culture Department of Kutaisi City Hall. Local official got annoyed by the call to the live radio-program. The conflict which started in the radio-program later ended with physical assault of the journalist on Tskaltubo motorway. Patrol police started investigation but it has not finished for 6 months already. The journalist requests law enforcement bodies to react on the incident.

“Since the conflict started in Kutaisi, the Kutaisi prosecutor’s office was put in charge of the investigation; however the prosecutor’s office has not replied to my questions yet. I applied to the regional prosecutor’s office and prosecutor general’s office too but in vain. The case has not been finished yet and nothing is done. It is fact that investigation is not going on,” said journalist Zviad Khujadze.

Journalist has spread statement several times and called upon law enforcement bodies to react on the fact. After oral and written petitions, prosecutor general’s office ordered regional prosecutor’s office and the latter ordered Kutaisi prosecutor’s office to investigate the fact; however, all was in vain.

“Former Public Defender Sozar Subari mentioned a good example, when he mentioned the fact of Levan Kubaneishvili. Everybody remembers how the incident in regard with Kubaneishvili ended when he received a letter of threatening on the email. The author of the letter was sentenced to 6-month imprisonment because the fact was declared to be oppression on the director of TV-company. This person made me sit into the car, drove me out of the city, physically assaulted me and it is not enough to start investigation on the fact,” said the journalist.

Lawyers clarify that the fact exposes illegal restriction of freedom of a person and it is enough ground to launch investigation.

“The investigation was launched 6 months ago but the victim has no information about it; he does not know what the conclusion of the expertise was; whether the crime really occurred, etc. It is fact that since the offender is a public official, investigation refrains from activities and they act partially. We cannot explain their behavior otherwise. The investigation does not have a suspect too. There is one more issue to be considered: no expertise was carried out on the incident. Of course, the journalist does not have injuries on the body. So there is no conclusion on physical assault. It is enough ground to drop investigation. We do not exclude possibility that the case will be closed at all,” said lawyer Nana Chapidze.
The physical assault of the journalist by public official might be discussed at the court soon. Zviad Khujadze said he will wait for the reply from the prosecutor for several days
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