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Investigation Launched into Physical Assault against Opposition Activist

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The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced on February 28 that it has launched investigation into physical assault against Zviad Kuprava, an opposition activist, who runs the Law Enforcement Reform Center – a United National Movement-affiliated rights group.

The investigation has been launched under article 126 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving violence.

The news about Kuprava’s beating emerged after Giorgi Kapanadze, founder of an online media outlet presa.ge, wrote about the incident on his Facebook page on February 27, simultaneously uploading Kuprava’s photo.

“He came to my office shortly before the incident to discuss one of the scandalous issues related to the Deputy Interior Minister. Moreover, a rally was being planned outside Bidzina Ivanishvili’s residential house tomorrow, where the glass flask [of Ivanishvili’s private hilltop residence in downtown Tbilisi – editorial note] should have been declared as a quarantine station and the usurper – as the main coronavirus,” he wrote, laying full responsibility on Georgian Dream leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

After being discharged from hospital, Zviad Kuprava told reporters that two men assaulted him, using a pepper spray and a knuckle-duster against him, and finally smashing a bottle over his head. “It was a planned special operation, the order that these people fulfilled. They [assailants] were two persons and their names are [PM Giorgi] Gakharia and Ivanishvili,” he noted.

Kuprava also said that assailants chased his car for quite a long distance that has been caught by over 10 CCTV cameras installed on the entire route. Thus, Kuprava argued, in case police desire to investigate the case, they will easily identify the assailants. “However, they will never punish themselves and investigate the case against themselves,” he noted.

Denying Kuprava’s allegations, Parliament Vice Speaker Gia Voslki said it is the UNM, former ruling party, not Georgian Dream, who would benefit by beating up “useless” Kuprava.

Zviad Kuprava, who is known for his critical remarks against the government, was one of the organizers of the rally led by Zaza Saralidze, father of the teenager murdered during Khorava Street incident in December 2017, who has been protesting what he claimed was a prosecution-led cover-up.

In February 2018, Kuprava was arrested on charges of insulting a judge in a court building. He was released in June 2018.

Zviad Kuprava, worked in the Interior Ministry from 2007 to 2013. According to Kuprava, he was fired on political grounds by then Patrol Police Chief Davit Tsinaridze, which he disputed in court and won the case, but was not reinstated to the job. In 2014, he joined the Free Zone, a UNM-affiliated youth group.

Later, he went to establish an organization of his own – the Law Enforcement Reform Center, which aims at monitoring and facilitating police reforms, as well as protecting the rights of law enforcement officers and providing legal assistance to citizens, according to its Facebook page.

Since then he frequently appeared in the media, criticizing alleged corruption and the overall performance of the law enforcement bodies. Kuprava, who was described by Zaza Saralidze as his friend and relative, had been assisting the family in their attempts to investigate the teen murder case independently from the authorities.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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