Two Detained Over TV Pirveli Cameraman Attack
The Special Investigative Service (SIS) announced on June 21 that they arrested two people for the attack on TV Pirveli cameraman Murman Zoidze, in Batumi, Georgia’s coastal city.
The two assailants are arrested under Article 156(2) of the Criminal Code, which refers to the persecution of a person over their professional activities and carries the potential punishment of a fine, restriction of freedom or imprisonment for up to three years.
The investigation had initially started under Article 154(2) which implies unlawful interference with a journalist’s professional activities through the threat of violence.
The Incident Details
TV Pirveli had announced late on June 19 that their cameraman had been attacked by up to five people.
Malkhaz Chkadua, Transparency International Georgia’s regional representative who was present at the site of the incident, told TV Pirveli that Zoidze was about to film when two young men emerged from the park and upon finding out which media outlet he worked for, began to verbally insult and then beat him.
“The two were immediately joined by more, perhaps 3-4,” Chkadua noted, adding that the assailants retreated to continue yelling insults once more bystanders appeared at the scene.
The Media Advocacy Coalition, a group of press freedom watchers, urged the SIS to carry out a swift and effective investigation at the time since “protracted investigative processes encourage new crimes against the media.”
The civil society group also reminded the authorities that “creating a secure media environment is a significant task in the course of European integration.“
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