MIA Says “No Record” of Arrest of U.S. Citizen, Who Accused Police of Beating him at Rally

On May 17, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) issued a statement in response to an interview with U.S. citizen Daryl Scholtz, published in Georgian media, in which Scholtz recounted how he was attacked by four masked policemen during one of the days of the ongoing rally against the Foreign Agents Law, who he said beat him severely, causing injuries that requires brain surgery. MIA states that this person was never arrested, never called 112, and was never taken to a hospital, seemingly in an attempt to evade responsibility. They police did not address the issue of the beating itself.

Scholtz told Mtavari TV that he and his friend were standing on Rustaveli Avenue during one of the nights of the protest, holding banners and recording the rally on video, when four masked men attacked and beat him, causing injuries including a hematoma on his brain. He also reported that he is scheduled to undergo surgery on May 18 and will leave the country afterwards because he no longer feels safe. According to him, he has already asked the U.S. Embassy to open an investigation into the case.

In the MIA statement, the Ministry emphasizes that Scholtz has never been arrested by the police and that his calls to the 112 hotline of the Public Safety Command Center have not been registered in the past month. The MIA also notes that he hasn’t requested medical help from the Health Ministry’s Emergency Coordination and Response Center, or been taken by an ambulance from the rally to a hospital, or been admitted to a hospital to undergo medical treatment.

“In addition, we further clarify that after the aforementioned information was disseminated, the Embassy of the United States of America in Georgia asked for information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as they were also unaware of a similar incident,” – adds the MIA’s statement.

During the rallies number of U.S. citizens have been arrested and/or severely beaten by the riot police. On April 30 the MIA detained Ted Jonas, a lawyer working for Anaklia Development Consortium LLC, who was severely beaten by the police. On May 13, the MIA announced the detention of 2 U.S. citizens. One of the detainees gave an extensive interview to RFL’s Tbilisi Service about the violence he endured and his two-day detention.

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