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Police Detain, Allegedly Beat Activist Leader

The Shame Movement has said that the police detained and beat Giorgi Mzhavanadze, the group’s director, late on May 17 while he waited to pick up a fine at the Gldani-Nadzaladevi #9 Police Department in Tbilisi, the capital.

The Interior Ministry confirmed to Civil.ge that Mzhavanadze was detained under Article 173 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, envisaging police disobedience and up to 48 hours of temporary detention.

The Special Investigation Service, an independent agency tasked with probing abuse of power, told Civil.ge that it started its own investigation under Article 333 (3b) of the Criminal Code, involving exceeding official powers using violence. The crime carries a prison term of five to eight years.

The Shame Movement first posted about the incident on Facebook and Nodar Rukhadze, an activist of the movement, appeared on TV Pirveli to explain what happened soon after.

As Rukhadze said, after taking Mzhavanadze outside and handcuffing his hands behind his back, the policemen started to “hit him in the face.”

Rukhadze explained that Mzhavanadze was summoned to the precinct to pick up the ticket he had received after he was detained alongside other protestors who had come out in a pro-Ukraine anti-Georgian Government rally on March 7.

According to Rukhadze, while waiting for the policeman that he had been in touch with, Mzhavanadze was approached by another officer, with questions about who he was waiting for.

Apparently not liking Mzhvanadze’s response that he was waiting for “some police officer,” whose name he did not know, the policeman alongside two others proceeded to take Mzhavanadze outside and handcuff him, per Rukhadze’s account.

“This arrest happened in a very confusing, absurd situation, where the police have once again used their power and once again confirmed that they serve only the interests of the ruling party, Georgian Dreams interests,” Rukhadze said.

The Shame Movement claimed that the cameras in and around the police department were not working at the time of the incident.

According to Rukhadze, the Shame Movement has already contacted the Interior Ministry requesting that they archive any evidence, in particular video, that may be relevant to the case.

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

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