Journalist Gela Mtivlishviliis currently in Tianeti Hospital. Gela Mtivlishvili told media.ge on the phone that he has bruises on the body and feels weak. According to him, 20 May he was detained by Tianeti Police when he was photographic the Police Station; they seized his camera, erased the footage and beat him up. Media.ge could not learn any other details as due to physical condition Gela could not continue phone conversation.
News Agency Internews circulated the commentary by the incident eyewitness RusudanSisauri, member of the Georgian Dream. According to her, Gela Mtivlishvili was photographing socially vulnerable families in one of the villages of Tianeti region after which he returned to Tianeti and attempted to photograph the local Police Station. According to Sisauri, a dispute took place between the journalist and policemen and the policemen detained him.
ShotaUtiashvili, Head, Department of Analytics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told media.ge that Gela Mtivlishvili organized a provocation at Tianeti Police Station. When Mtivlishvili was photographing the Police Station the policemen tried to determine his identity, although he did not say his name and continued photographing.
“It was a clear provocation: he did not reveal his identity to the policemen and when policemen took him inside the Police Station for finding out his identity he would not leave the building until they dragged him out. Policemen did not beat him up, did not even touch him; they did not seize his equipment and did not erase the footage,” Utiashvili told media.ge. According to him, Gela Mtivlishvili requested advocates and journalists to be called to the Police Station. Although, Utiashvili clarified, Mtivlishvili was not detained, so Police just identified him and then let him go.
“It is not prohibited to photograph the Police Stations, but Gela was acting provocatively, drew attention to him so policemen attempted to find out his identity,” Utiashvili clarified.