TBILISI, DFWatch–The TV station Maestro was evacuated twice on Tuesday, as Georgia is increasing the sentence for making false terrorism reports from three years to five years in jail.
The government explains that it is doing this after the many false bomb reports lately. Most of the offenders are minors and today’s legislation doesn’t allow for punishment of minors. Adults may be sentenced to up to three years in jail.
There have been more than ten bomb reports to the Interior Ministry’s call center 112. As a result, the building of parliament was evacuated three times, as have TV stations Rustavi 2, Imedi and Maestro. Even the international airport in Tbilisi was evacuated once, and flights delayed.
Police detained a suspect in all cases. Only a few of them are adult and have been placed in pre-trial detention.
Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said on Tuesday that the perpetrators will be required to pay compensation for the damage done by these calls. He said parliament was unable to function for 15 hours after three false bomb reports. It caused ‘moral-political’ loss, but also material loss of about 50 000 lari (USD 30 000).
And now, the criminal code will be amended to introduce tougher sentence for this kind of crime. A draft has been presented to parliament and will be reviewed in a fast-track procedure.
False terrorism reports will be punished by fine, or by deprivation of freedom from two to five years. In aggravating circumstances the sentence may be from five to seven years in jail.
If the offender is a minor, there will be sanctions against the parents or guardians.
On Tuesday, two calls were made to 112 about a bomb in the building of Maestro TV. This led to two consecutive evacuations. Both callers were minors.