Ombudsman Sozar Subari scrutinized the fact of physical and moral insult of Zugdidi regional newspaper “Gia Boqlomi” (Open Lock) and sent the obtained

According to Ombudsman’s statement which was disseminated on December 15 the material was also sent to head of human rights department of General prosecutor’s Office Archil Giorgadze.

[14:32 19.12.2006]

The incident occurred in Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti regional administration on December 4. In his explanatory report 17 year old Ilia Chachibaia claims that he was insulted physically and morally in Samegrelo-Upper Svaneti governor’s cabinet by the governor’s staff.

More precisely, according to Chachibaia on December 4 he applied to head of governor’s press service Lali Gelenava in order to check certain information. After a short period of time Chachibaia was contacted by the head of governor’s security Dima Markoidze. The journalist was deceivingly placed in Gelenava’s car and taken to governor’s cabinet, where he was locked for 4-5 hours and forced to disclose the source of information. He was threatened that in case of refusal his newspaper would be closed down and he would be killed. Offenders took away Chachibaia’s mobile phone and broke his voice recorder.

According to the explanatory report press secretary Lali Gelenava hit the journalist while head of security Dima Markoidze “grabbed him by throat and threatened to kill him”. Journalist Nana Fazhava who was present at the scene told Ombudsman’s Office that when asked whether Zaza Gorozia was informed about the incident in his cabinet the head of security answered that the governor was informed about everything.

Ombudsman’s statement points out that Ombudsman’s Office staff obtained explanatory reports from other journalists as well and that governor’s staff refused to cooperate with Ombudsman’s Office.

Ombudsman states that the obtained material points out the following violations of Criminal Law:
Article 154 – obstructing a journalist in his professional activity, that means to force him/her to disseminate information or to refrain from doing so, with a physical threat and using one’s position –is punished by penalty or imprisonment up to 2 years, removal from position or activity up to 3 years.

Article 143- illegal detainment of an under-aged person with force or threat of force – is punished by imprisonment from 7 to 10 years.