Levan Izoria, outgoing chief of Georgian Intelligence Service, and Vakhtang Gomelauri, incumbent Interior Minister, made their first comments almost a week after pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV aired a story about Giorgi Dvalishvili, former police officer, who provided a body-cam footage featuring the arrest of Levan Izoria’s (then Deputy Interior Minister) brother, Vakhtang Izoria.
In the interview with POSTV on January 27, Levan Izoria spoke lengthily about the incident, slamming it as “a political show.” He explained that his political opponents had information about his appointment as Georgian ambassador to Germany and by spreading the footage, they wanted “to attach a political background” to the incident.
“They selected the day, when I filed my resignation on January 23 and later at 9pm, the footage [was] aired [on Mtavari Arkhi TV],” Izoria said.
Outgoing Intelligence Chief also explained that he learned about the incident only after it was resolved and had “no feeling of discontent” towards the police officer.” He said police officer Dvalishvili retained his position in law enforcement agencies and continued to work there. He denied any allegations about pressure on police officer Dvalishvili. This is “absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
Levan Izoria noted that his brother had not insulted police officers, adding that he only “expressed his emotions and aggression [against policeman] that is not good.” He also added that he sees no crime in his brother’s behavior. Izoria also stated that he had no information that his brother had a so called “Narushilovka” (a special permit waiving law enforcement officials from responsibility when breaking certain regulations (like speed limits or parking) when in duty), adding that a person who issued this document to his brother, has been identified and punished.
Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri also denied Dvalishvili’s claims about pressure and persecution. He also explained that instead of storing the video footage depicting an apparent crime, Dvalishvili had to submit it to the General Inspection.
Gomelauri also noted that Vakhtang Izoria did not even touch a police officer and only spoke aggressively, “that is not [considered] a crime.” “Do you know what happened before? Maybe, they [policemen] were insulting him [Vakhtang Izoria]?” he asked reporters. Asked why Vakhtang Gomelauri had the so called “Narushilovka,” Gomelauri responded that he did not know.
According to the video footage, patrol police stopped the car driven by allegedly not sober Vakhtang Izoria, prompting the latter to get into a verbal confrontation with police officers, insulting and threatening them. Later then police officer Giorgi Dvalishvili arrested Izoria for petty hooliganism, handcuffed him and put him into a police car.
The video footage shows arrested Vakhtang Izoria continuing to insult police officers, warning them that he is Levan Izoria’s brother. Soon, another police officer and Levan Izoria’s driver came to the scene and released Vakhtang Izoria; police officers were compelled to apologize to him for the incident.
Mtavari TV then released another video footage, according to which a so called “Narushilovka” was issued to Vakhtang Izoria.