On January 15, 2018, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) published a statement on its official website acknowledging that information on the arrest of Giorgi Kldiashvili disseminated by the Ministry on December 17, 2014 was misleading and included inaccurate description of factual circumstances.
The statement published by MIA on December 17, 2014 depicted Giorgi Kldiashvili as a criminal in the eyes of the society. Thus, with the aim of protecting his reputation Giorgi Kldiashvili referred a defamatory case to Tbilisi City Court on January 5, 2015 and requested public rebuttal of the information disseminated by MIA.
On June 15, 2017, as a result of Ministry’s absence on the case hearing, the appeal of Giorgi Kldiashvili was fully granted and MIA was directed to publish a notice on its official website, acknowledging dissemination of inaccurate information. MIA appealed against the court decision. Giorgi Kldiashvili agreed to the request of MIA on annulling the court decision rendered in the absence of the Ministry, after which the case hearings were renewed at Tbilisi City Court.
On January 15, 2018, MIA published a statement, reflecting the content requested by the appeal of Giorgi Kldiashvili. By publishing the statement, MIA fully granted the request of Giorgi Kldiashvili, thus the subject of dispute seized to exist.
In its statement of January 15, 2018, MIA acknowledged that the statement of December 17, 2014 included misleading information linked with the following factual circumstances:
- Statement of December 17, 2014: ‘The police seized a handgun of Parabellum system as a result of conducting the investigative measure of searching Giorgi Kldiashvili and his car’;
The statement is defamatory, since it gives wrong impression that Giorgi Kldiashvili had committed a criminal offence. MIA acknowledged that the statement was misleading and that, as indicated in the search record, the handgun was disassembled into four parts.
- Statement of December 17, 2014: ‘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 process of investigation, during questioning, Giorgi Kldiashvili failed to provide the permit to carry the handgun.’;
The Ministry admitted that Giorgi Kldiashvili had not stated that he had a permit to carry the handgun. After searching Giorgi Kldiashvili he confirmed that the handgun was his property, and provided law enforcement agents with permission to own the gun. Thus, MIA highlighted that its statement contained false information and that Giorgi Kldiashvili had not attempted to mislead law enforcement agencies.
- Statement of December 17, 2014: ‘Judge granted the motion of the Prosecutor’s Office and released Giorgi Kldiashvili from the courtroom on bail’;
MIA confessed that the mentioned part of the statement was misleading as well. Based on the decision of the Court, detention of Giorgi Kldiashvili on December 12, 2014 was illegal and was conducted with major procedural violations. The Ministry stressed that the mentioned served as the basis for releasing Giorgi Kldiashvili from the courtroom, and not the motion of the Prosecutor’s Office.
Giorgi Kldiashvili has been requesting official rebuttal of inaccurate factual circumstances from MIA since June, 2015. IDFI welcomes the acknowledgement by MIA of disseminating information defamatory to Giorgi Kldiashvili and publishing of a relevant statement on its official website on its own initiative before the conclusion of the court hearings. This indicates that the reforms initiated by the new authorities of the Ministry are positive and highlights the readiness and willingness of MIA to cooperate with the civil sector.
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.
IDFI would like to thank its partner organization - Georgian Young Lawyers association (GYLA), for representing the interests of Giorgi Kldiashvili in the course of court hearings.
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