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Ombudsman of Georgia reacts to attacks by law enforcement on protesters

Ombudsman of Georgia reacts to attacks by law enforcement on protesters Protest in Georgia (photo: Getty Images)

In Georgia, ombudsman Levan Ioselaini has called on investigative authorities to promptly identify representatives of law enforcement agencies and police who exceeded their powers regarding participants in a protest in Tbilisi against the controversial foreign agents bill, reports Hruziia Online.

In a written statement, the national defender in Georgia also called for the swift identification of members of aggressive groups at this demonstration and for the application of appropriate legal measures.

The Georgian Ombudsman's office, following visits to those arrested during the protests, made a statement regarding the actions taken regarding the incidents of violence against opposition political leaders, representatives of non-governmental organizations, media, and other participants in the rally in Tbilisi.

Responding to a series of similar incidents, the Public Defender called on the Special Investigations Service, the Prosecutor General's Office, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to promptly investigate the attacks on:

  • Levan Khabeishvili,
  • Sopho Japaridze,
  • Aleko Elisashvili,
  • Gia Japaridze,
  • Giorgi Mumladze,
  • Boris Chel Kurua,
  • Nodar Chachanidze,
  • Dmitry Chikovani,
  • Lasha Gvinianidze, a biker,
  • DJ Giorgi Shengelia,
  • the father of activist Abkhazov,
  • US and Georgian citizen Theodore Jonas,
  • teacher Lado Abkhazava,
  • journalist of the online edition Publica Alexander Keshelava,
  • journalists of the same media and the online edition Tabula Giorgi Badridze,
  • journalist of the edition Aprel Giorgi Baskhadze,
  • employees of the filming crew of the TV company Pirveli,
  • as well as for the attack on Giorgi Klidiasvili, executive director of the Institute for Development (IDFI) and the filming crew (TV company) Formula.

According to the ombudsman, he has numerous video recordings of violent actions committed on May 13 and in previous days. Among the recordings is an incident of violence against a citizen on Leonidze Street, as well as an attack on a group of young people in Heroes' Square.

"It should be noted that the incidents of attacks on representatives of opposition parties, journalists, and rally participants show signs of persecution of individuals for political motives, activities, and beliefs, which is in stark contradiction to the individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and international acts," the statement said.

Protests in Georgia over the Russian draft law

Earlier, it was reported that the Georgian parliament adopted in the first and second readings the controversial draft law on transparency of foreign influence. Critics of such an foreign agents initiative emphasize that it contradicts democratic principles and is similar to the one adopted in authoritarian Russia in 2012.

Recently, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze stated that he would promote the foreign agents draft law for adoption in parliament in the third reading this week.

This is happening against the backdrop of mass protests against the corresponding legislative initiative. The draft law has also been criticized by the European Union.

For more information on the situation in Georgia and the protests in Tbilisi, read the article by RBC-Ukraine.