Ministry of State Security Enters Rustavi 2

Approximately 30 employees of the State Security Ministry entered office of the broadcasting company Rustavi 2 to inspect its financial documentation on the basis of sanction of the district court today.

Rustavi 2 company declared mistrust to the Ministry and refused to reveal the documents, saying that the Tax Inspection has already inspected the company one week ago and found no violations. The company has a relevant official conclusion on the results inspection.

After refusal of the directorate of the company to allow the inspection, representatives of the State Security Ministry left the office.

Dispute between the representatives of the TV company and the Ministry has been broadcasted live.

State Security Ministry states that a case of tax evasion has been launched on Rustavi 2 company on October 26th. The Ministry does not recognize conclusion by the Tax Inspection and demands re-examination of the financial documentation of the company.

Ministry of Internal Affairs was first to make threatening statements towards the TV company. On October 24th Internal Affair’s Minister Kakha Targamadze alleged Rustavi 2 in influencing public opinion in order to discredit the Ministry and accuse its high level officials in Giorgi Sanaia’s murder. Targamadze promised to “smash” everyone who’d oppose him.

Such statements by the Internal Affairs Ministry have been triggered by Rustavi 2’s own version of Sanaia’s murder case. Under this version, Sanaia has been possessing information about participation of high-level officials of the Ministry in drug business in Pankisi valley and this information has become a reason of murder of the journalist.

On the same day, on October 24th Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs declared during Rustavi 2 live talk show that the Ministry possesses information, proving illegal activities of the broadcasting company. He also stated that the case would be launched in this connection in the nearest future.

During the briefing on October 29th President Shevardnadze stated that there were no threats from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Targamadze never said that he would “smash” his opponents.

One day after President made statement, favoring Internal Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of State Security, which was not involved in these disputes before, entered office of Rustavi 2 company with demands of financial inspection.

Directorate of the TV company and certain parliamentarians are directly accusing President Shevardnadze for mounting pressure on the company.

While delivering speech at the meeting in front of the company’s office, parliamentarian Koba Davitashvili called upon President to resign. Elene Tevdoradze, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Parliament accused Shevardnadze in encouraging ‘power ministries’, which resulted in implementation of ‘intimidation policy’ by the two Ministries.