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Newspaper “Batumelebi” Continues Fight

15.12.2009
Maka Malakmadze, Batumi

Despite many uninvestigated cases connected with the newspaper “Batumelebi”, coordinator of the journalistic investigation group of the newspaper Tedo Jorbenadze appealed to the Adjara prosecutor Gizo Ugulava and requested to investigate the oppression on him by the MIA. Besides this case, the newspaper has appealed to the court against the Department for Revenues of the Ministry of Finances. The suit is about fining our employees with 1 000 GEL each.

The suit filed to the prosecutor’s office is about the oppression on Tedo Jorbenadze which occurred on November 25. According to the representatives of the editorial board of the newspaper, nobody has replied to their suit yet. In the suit, the journalist requests to investigate the attempt of interference in his private life and professional activities.

Officers of the General Inspection of the MIA started investigation on November 29 and Tedo Jorbenadze, Eter Turadze and Mzia Amaghlobeli wrote explanation letters. They were also shown some photos to recognize the offenders but there were not the policemen who intimidated them on the photos.

It must be noted that in his interview to the program of the Public Broadcasting “Dialogue with Davit Paichadze” Shota Utiashvili, head of Information-Analytic Department of the MIA, said there are signs of blackmailing in the case. “Who has committed the crime should be punished by all means. Corresponding institutions are working on the issue and they cooperate with the board of the newspaper…”

The only new detail in Tedo Jorbenadze’s case is that lawyer Nana Andguladze gave an official explanation on the fact to the representative of the Public Defender’s Office. When the journalist arrived, Andguladze was near the building of former security service in Griboedov Street N 4.

The newspaper has filed administrative suit against the department for revenues within the Ministry of Finances; Tbilisi City Court has started the discussion of the suit. The suit is about fining two employees of the newspaper – Eter Turadze and Mzia Amaglobeli – with 1 000 GEL each on August for their professional activities at Sarpi Custom’s House.

“The reason for our fining was resistance to law enforcement officers which was expressed by the request of journalist Eter Turadze to the custom officer to comment on the procedures of custom duties,” said founder of the newspaper Mzia Amaglobeli.

At the trial lawyers of the regional department and department of revenues of the Adjara Autonomous Republic stated that journalists were trying to get secret information and had not agreed it with the press center of the Ministry of Finances at the custom’s house.

“We were interviewing people who persuaded the custom officers that they are not carrying out commercial activities. It is unclear why should I inform anybody at the department of revenues if I am going to write an article about violations at the custom’s house,” said Eter Turadze.

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