Based on Public Defender’s Request Investigation Started over Hindering Journalist’s Work

Zugdidi District Department of Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs has started to investigate the fact of hindering Poti-based public-political newspaper “Tavisupali Sitkva’s” Editor Eliso Janashia in performing her professional duties.

[19:32 04.04.2007]

February 6 issue of “Tavisupali Sitkva” featured an article, which concerned the persecution of journalist of newspaper “Ghia Boklomi” Ilia Chachibaia by Samegrelo regional Administration. Chachibaia had accused press secretary of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Governor Lali Gelenava and Head of the Governor’s Security Service of pressuring and threats.

According to Eliso Janashia, on February 8 she was contacted by Lali Gelenava over phone, who verbally insulted her. In a little while Gelenava’s husband, journalist Lasha Berulava contacted Janashia and threatened her that he’d “come to Poti and tear her in two halves”. Besides, Janashia received insulting text messages from Berulava.

On February 12 Eliso Janashia applied to Public Defender Sozar Subari. On February 15 Public Defender sent a letter to Deputy Prosecutor General Giorgi Latsabidze and Head of Zugdidi Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs Koba Narsia and asked them to study the issue and respond to those facts correspondingly.

On March 29 Prosecutor General’s Office informed Subari that based on his letter on March 22 Zugdidi Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs had started a preliminary investigation over the fact of preventing Eliso Janashia from performing her professional duties.

According to 154th article of Georgian Criminal Code, hindering journalist’s work is punishable with a fine or imprisonment for up to two years. Besides, the person convicted of that crime must be fired and may be disallowed to hold the similar position for up to three years.