Investigation launched in Georgia into video depicting child abuse
A video clip posted on Facebook and YouTube depicting the beating and abuse of a child who seems to be about 14 years of age has become the subject of an investigation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In the video, a young boy is forced to talk about his sexual experiences. The video shows only the face of the victim. The bullies are not seen but their voices can be heard, of which there are several and also seemingly minors.
The victim is crying while being filmed and repeats what he is told to say. The supposed name and surname of the victim can be heard.
The clip has caused quite a stir – Facebook and YouTube users are calling on the authorities to quickly react to the event. Both the ombudsman and human rights organisations have taken an interest in the case as well.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs says that the video was uploaded to YouTube in September 2017 but was only shared on Facebook on 20 April. Several hours later the clip was still available online. The Internal Ministry stated that the individual responsible for uploading the video had already been identified as a minor.
An investigation is being carried out under Articles 140 and 157.1 of the criminal codex – sexual contact with a minor and invasion of privacy, punishable by five to eight years imprisonment.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs says that the first article has been included as they cannot exclude the possibility of sexual violence having taken place.
Ombudsman Nino Lomjaria called on social media users to not further spread the video online. She said that in the clip one can see the face of the individual. As he can be identified, it is a violation of the right to privacy and may be a threat to his psychological and emotional health.
Lomjaria said that the ‘authorities must quickly put an end to the video, and do all they can for the psychological and social support of the victim and to discipline the children who participated in these violent actions’.
A lawyer of NGO Partner for human rights, Anna Tavkhelidze, told JAMnews that a video clip may become the subject of a criminal investigation when:
- It concerns the private life or interests of a child;
- It involves violence against a child by other children (bullying);
- It may give rise to suspicions of acts of a sexual nature with a minor.
“The children who shot the clip are also in some way victims, and they must be worked with,” said lawyer Anna Tavkhelidze.
Tavkhelidze added that this is not the first case of a video of the sort making its way online and displaying the participation of teenagers and minors. She says state structures are under-prepared for such cases and they are rather passive in this regard.
“If it weren’t for the scandal that popped up on social media, the authorities would never have reacted to this case … and it’s already been several months that this video has been online,” said Tavkhelidze.
The Social Security Agency has already gotten involved, and said that the child and his family have been identified and are being given support. The agency has yet to release additional details concerning the case.