5 police officers took TV-Company Tabula journalist Giorgi Sikharulidze out of the car, verbally insulted him and erased recorded footage from his mobile phone. Incident took place in the evening 24 August in Tbilisi during the police raid, Tabula website reports.
The magazine claims that when leaving the TV-Company Giorgi Sikharulidze noticed five patrol police vehicles nearby. Police has detained several persons on the spot. Tabula journalist got into his car, recorded the incident on a mobile phone and started the car. After he drove 100 meters he was stopped, without showing any ID policemen searched him and verbally insulted him; after this they seized his mobile phone and erased the recorded footage. Policemen who came out of Skoda black vehicle were threatening to seize Sikharulidze’s mobile phone.
After the incident finished Giorgi Sikharulidze told police officers that he was a journalist. He was interested how police treated citizens. After the law enforcers learnt about Sikharulidze’s profession and working place they advised him to always keep with him the press-card.
TV-Company Tabula, which believes that stop and search of journalist and erasing of footage from the mobile phone was done by violation of the Law on the Police, calls on the Minister of Internal Affairs Irakli Garibashvili to immediately investigate the incident and punish the guilty.
Representative of the Press Service of the Ministry of the Interior stated to the Netgazeti, that the infringement of law with respect to the journalist of Tabula hadn’t been confirmed:
“An inquiry has been held and no violation on the part of the police officer was confirmed, i.e. police officers didn’t violate anything in regard this person, and the allegation of Tabula hasn’t been confirmed as well.”- the Press Service of the Ministry said.
Tabula journalist Giorgi Sikharulidze reported to the Netgazeti, that he hadn’t been interrogated by the investigation body:
“We haven’t filed an action as yet, therefore nobody’s been interrogated. The Ministry of the Interior didn’t react at all, and we’ve spread an official statement in the hope to get some reaction, which should have followed. We’re going to file an action”- Giorgi Sikharulidze told the Netgazeti.
Owner of TV-Company Tabula and Tabula magazine is Civil Education Fund.