PEN International joins the Georgian PEN Center in condemning the attacks on journalists by the Police Special Forces on May 26, 2011, following opposition protests in Tbilisi. PEN calls on the Georgian government to allow a full and impartial investigation into the attacks.

Background Information

On May 26, 2011, the Police Special Forces violently dispersed anti-government demonstrators in Tbilisi using tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons, minutes after the permit for the demonstrators’ rally had expired. The protestors had been ordered to disperse by midnight in order to make way for a military parade planned for the following day. It was reported that up to four people may have been killed during the clampdown and over 37 were injured. Many more remain missing and are believed to be detained.

PEN is concerned by reports that several journalists covering the protests were injured during the attacks, including Tamaz Kupreishvili, from Netgazeti newspaper; Darejan Paatshvili from Interpressnews; Nato Gogelia from Guria News; Zaira Mikatadze from Resonance newspaper; David Mchedlidze from Media.ge; Diana Khoperia from radio Obiektiv; and Beka Sivsivadze and Giorgi Mamatsashvili from the Asaval-Dasavali newspaper.

Furthermore, the police seized cameras from Avtandil Surmava from Palitra TV and Tamaz Kupreishvili and Nesten Tsetskhladze from Netgazeti—evidence of a deliberate clampdown on journalists reporting on the protests.

A statement released by Georgian PEN expressed its “condemnation and deep concern over the growing aggression and severity of actions of the Georgian government against their own citizens,” adding that “these actions go completely against the founding principles of an independent and democratic state, for which the main values are human life, dignity, and respect.”

More information:

Write A Letter

  • Calling for the immediate release of those still being held in detention for their peaceful participation in the protests;
  • Urging that there be assistance provided to those seeking to locate individuals who have been missing since the police crackdown;
  • Urging that there be an impartial investigation into the attacks, in particular into the deaths of the four protestors.

Send Your Letter To

President of Georgia
Mikheil SAAKASHVILI
Office of the President of Georgia
7 Ingorokva, 0105 Tbilisi
GEORGIA
Fax: (+995 32) 99 96 30 / 99 08 79
E-mail: office@presidpress.gov.ge

Human Rights Ombudsperson of Georgia
Giorgi TUGUSHI
Public Defender
11 Machabeli, 0105 Tbilisi
GEORGIA
Fax: (+995 32) 92 24 70
Email: info@ombudsman.ge

Prosecutor General of Georgia
Zurab ADEISHVILI
Prosecutor General
Office of the Prosecutor General
24 Gorg_asali street, 0133 Tbilisi
GEORGIA
Fax: (+ 995 32) 98 21 70

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Georgia in your country if possible.