The member organizations of the Human Rights House Tbilisi echo the alleged facts of oppression and intimidation of the human rights journalist Irakli Kordzaia from the government representatives, and we call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to timely and effectively investigate the case.
As reported by the human rights journalist and blogger Irakli Kordzaia, the government representatives resumed his oppression in November 2018. Kordzaia was the head of the public relations unit in the Ministry of Corrections in 2012-2014. According to his statement, during his working period in the Ministry, he obtained information about the facts of human rights violations. Among them was the fact that the former prime minister of Georgia Vano Merabishvili was secretly taken out from his prison cell in 2013. Different witnesses reported that there are archived video materials disclosing this fact. Irakli Kordzaia claims that because of his critical approach to this and other facts he had problems with the senior officials of the Ministry and was compelled to quit the job.
Afterward, Irakli Kordzaia openly criticized the government in his video-blogs, spoke about different human rights violations committed by them and about the information that could prove those facts. He said in 2018 that a senior official of the chief prosecutor’s office of Georgia called his friend, threatened him and demanded that Irakli Kordzaia stopped talking about the facts he knew. Besides that, Kordzaia said that his house in Tbilisi is under surveillance. Because of above mentioned facts, Kordzaia decided to leave Georgia.
Human Rights Center, HRHT member organization represents the legal interests of Irakli Kordzaia. Regardless the petitions of the organization, the investigation into the abovementioned facts has not yet been started.
Any facts of threats or intimidation against journalist and blogger from the side of the senior government officials are alarming. Unfortunately, during recent months the government representatives, including senior officials, discredited human rights organizations and human rights defenders many times. Similar aggressive rhetoric of the government officials undermines the work of independent activists or human rights defenders in Georgia. Georgia, as the member state of the Council of Europe, is obliged to respect fundamental freedoms of human rights defenders (including journalists) as well as the right to freedom of expression (PACE Resolution 2225(2018)).
In this light, the under-signatory organizations call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia:
- To start the investigation into the alleged facts of oppression and intimidation of Irakli Kordzaia and to conduct it in a prompt, effective and impartial manner;
- To ensure the safety of the human rights journalist, his family members, and friends.
“Human Rights House Tbilisi” on behalf of its member organizations:
- Human Rights Center (HRIDC)
- Article 42 of the Constitution
- Media Institute
- Georgian Center for the Psycho-Social and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT)