On December 12th, 2014 the Department of Central Criminal Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia detained Giorgi Kldiashvili, director of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) on charges of illicit carrying of firearms. Giorgi Kldiashvili was carrying home registered collection firearm in his ownership (Parabelum 08, 1921) after it has been repaired at a shop. The firearm was dismantled, placed in the trunk, without bullets or magazine, however, Giorgi Kldiashvili did not have permit of the Service Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on its transportation. Giorgi Kldiashvili was accused of the crime envisaged by article 236 (2) of the Criminal Code of Georgia (illicit carrying of firearms) which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment ranging from three to five years. After three hours of examination Giorgi Kldiashvili was detained and taken to the detention centre i.e. “Moduli” building.
It should be noted that detention of Giorgi Kldiashvili was based on assumption of avoiding prosecution. However, as it becomes clear from the detention report, Giorgi Kldiashvili was detained after he voluntarily participated in the investigative process, presented himself in the “Moduli” building and was questioned as the witness of the case.
During the court hearing on the case the prosecutor Tengiz Kharebava failed to present any arguments which would prove the danger of Giorgi Kldiashvili avoiding prosecution. Hence the court concluded that the process of detaining Giorgi Kldiashvili was conducted in violation of article 171 of the Procedural Criminal Code of Georgia. This was the argument for releasing Giorgi Kldiashvili directly from the courtroom. The investigation on the case is underway. The next hearing on the case is scheduled on the 17th of January 2015. Giorgi Kldiashvili has decided to suspend his functions as the director of the Institute until the process of investigation is finalized and the court decision is announced. Regarding the issue of detaining the director of the Institute, IDFI would like to emphasize the following:
1. Giorgi Kldiashvili was detained without any legal bases. This was confirmed by the court at the hearing of the case. In our opinion the latter unambiguously implies that the Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as the Prosecutor’s office of Georgia aimed at unduly influencing and intimidating Giorgi Kldiashvili.
2. Giorgi Kldiashvili is an active member of “This Affects You” campaign. During the process of questioning the representative of investigative authorities made several indirect emphasizes on this point. This can well be perceived as one of the reasons for detaining Giorgi Kldiashvili.
3. In the recent period IDFI has published a number of critical articles on the functioning of law enforcement authorities. The court hearing on the case of IDFI Vs. Ministry of Internal Affairs is scheduled on the 17th of December, the request of IDFI being provision of the Institute with complete public information.
Regardless of the fact, whether or not the acts of Giorgi Kldiashvili were illegal, his two-day detention by investigative authorities constitutes purposeful measure of punishment against the active member of civil society and the director of the Institute.
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