Court Directs Ministry of Internal Affairs to Retract Information Defaming Giorgi Kldiashvili

News | Rule of Law | Good Governance | Publications | Article 7 August 2017

Author: Nino Merebashvili

On December 12, 2014, the Director of IDFI Giorgi Kldiashvili was arrested by the Department of Central Criminal Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia, on charges of illicit carrying of firearms (Art. 236.2 of the Criminal Code) and was taken to a pre-detention cell where he was kept for three days. On December 14, Giorgi Kldiashvili was released from the courtroom on bail, and his detention was declared illegal.

 

On January 15, 2015, criminal prosecution against Giorgi Kldiashvili was terminated as the Court declared that his acts did not constitute a criminal action. The court not only held Giorgi Kldiashvili not guilty but also directed the MIA and the Prosecutor’s Office to pay damages inflicted by illegal detention.

 

On December 17, 2014, the MIA published a statement on its official website which inaccurately described the factual circumstances and depicted Giorgi Kldiashvili as a criminal in the eyes of a wider public.

 

On June 5, 2015, Giorgi Kldiashvili referred to the civil law chamber of Tbilisi City Court with an appeal against MIA for spreading defamatory information. After two years, on June 15, 2017, Tbilisi City Court fully granted the appeal of Giorgi Kldiashvili. The MIA was directed to publish a statement on its official website admitting to having spread inaccurate information. In particular, the MIA was ordered to publish an announcement highlighting that the statement published on its  website on December 17, 2014 contained the following false information:

 

MIA statement: ‘The police seized a handgun of Parabellum system as a result of conducting investigative measure of searching Giorgi Kldiashvili and his car.’

 

The statement is defamatory as it fails to describe the full picture. According to the search record, the handgun was disassembled in four parts and the applicant was taking it to a craftsman for reparation. Contrary to factual circumstances, the MIA statement implies that the applicant had committed a criminal action.

 

MIA statement: ‘After the police searched Giorgi Kldiashvili, he stated that the handgun was his property and he had a permit to carry it…. Later on in the investigation, during questioning, Giorgi Kldiashvili failed to provide the permit to carry the handgun.’

 

The statement  is defamatory as after searchingGiorgi Kldiashvili he confirmed that the handgun was his property, and provided law enforcement agents with permission to own the gun (as opposed to a permission to carry it). The statement, according to which Giorgi Kldiashvili provided police with false information, is not accurate. Thus, the MIA statement defames the honor and dignity of the applicant as he is depicted as a liar in the eyes of a wider public.  

 

MIA statement: ‘Judge granted the motion of the Prosecutor’s Office and released Giorgi Kldiashvili from the courtroom on bail.’

 

The statement  is defamatory as the court held that the detention of Giorgi Kldiashvili on December 12, 2014, was illegal and the procedure was conducted with major violations of the law. It was this which served as the basis for releasing Giorgi Kldiashvili from the courtroom, and not the motion of the Prosecutor’s Office.   

 

According to the court decision, the MIA is obliged to retract the defaming information published by it on December 17, 2014, via its official website within the period of one month.

 

No representative of the respondent party - MIA was present at the court hearing. Since no written motion had been presented by the MIA explaining the reasons of its absence at the hearing, the court rendered a default judgement. After this, the MIA appealed the judgement once again. The hearing on the case is scheduled for October 10, 2017, at 12:00 am. IDFI will keep the public informed on the future development of the case.

 

Giorgi Kldiashvili’s interests were represented in court by David Lomtadze, lawyer from IDFI’s partner organization Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA). Lawyers of the same organization Maia Khutsishvili and Levan Vepkhvadze successfully protected Kldiashvili’s interests in the course of criminal prosecution against him, whereas GYLA lawyer Nika Simonishvili protected Kldiashvili’s interests in the civil dispute concerning reimbursement of damages. 

 

Therefore, IDFI would like to once again express its gratitude to the Georgian Young Lawyers Association for successfully protecting the interests of Giorgi Kldiashvili in court disputes concerning his illegal detainment.

 

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