News

Watchdog body pushes for progress in ‘Batumelebi case’

by | Nov 28, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch – Giorgi Tugushi, Georgia’s Public Defender, asks the chief prosecutor to study information provided by the newspaper Batumelebi.

Batumelebi, which is published in the western city of Batumi, November 20 revealed the identity of a policeman who they say tried to blackmail one of their journalists in 2009.

In huge letters proclaiming “Found!” the paper exposed Davit Devnozashvili as the police officer who November 25 two years ago presented journalist Tedo Jorbenadze with black and white photos of naked men, insisting that the journalist was one of the men in the photos. He threatened that if the journalist didn’t cooperate with the police he would publish the photos.

The case caused concern about pressure being exerted against free press, but until last week investigation had been stalled. But on November 20, Mzia Amabglobeli, director of Batumelebi newspaper, spotted the policeman in front of his house and recognized him. She called for police, who came the place together with investigators. But she claims they didn’t fill out any kind of documents upon arriving.

Today’s statement published on the Public Defender’s website ombudsman.ge says that on December 11, 2009, the Public Defender asked the prosecutor to study the case. Also, in the ombudsman’s 2010 annual report to Parliament the case was noted.

“Unfortunately, the investigation still isn’t finished regarding the activities conducted against Tedo Jorbenadze until today,” the Public Defender’s statement says.

 



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