Interior Ministry Launches Investigation into Alleged Journalists Murder Plot

The Georgian Interior Ministry announced on March 11 that it has launched an investigation into an alleged murder plot targeting TV Pirveli journalists, Nodar Meladze and Maka Chikhladze, who recently released the controversial covert recordings involving Bera Ivanishvili.

The probe was launched after Levan Mamaladze, Shevardnadze-era governor of the Kvemo Kartli region who fled to Russia after being accused of extortion, told Imedi TV on March 10 citing a Ukrainian source that Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and ex-Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili were plotting the murder of Nodar Meladze and Maka Chikhladze “to cause unrests in the country.”

Before the investigation began, Meladze expressed doubts that the “propaganda unleashed” by pro-government media about the murder plot allegations may be aimed at preparing the ground “to shift the blame” of possible “revenge” by the Government for the covert tapes.

Critical of law enforcement agencies, Meladze reminded the Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry that it is their duty to protect Georgian citizens, and called for a reaction to Mamaladze’s statement.

After the Interior Ministry initiated the probe, it offered to put Meladze and Chikhladze under state protection program, as reported by the TV Pirveli journalists.

The alleged murder plot and the subsequent investigation came five days after TV Pirveli aired covert recordings in which son of GD founder Bidzina Ivanishvili, rap-singer Bera Ivanishvili, seems to be tasking Anzor Chubinidze, who serves as the Head of the Special State Protection Service (SSPS) since 2014, to humiliate and punish youngsters for online posts insulting Ivanishvili family. In a separate recorded conversation with Bera Ivanishvili, Irakli Garibashvili, current Prime Minister, seems to be informed about these actions and encourages them.

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