‘Russia’s destabilization plan – leading Georgian NGOs on the possible assassination attempt on a Georgian journalist
A group of 17 Georgian NGOs say that the alleged attempt to assassinate Georgian journalist Giorgi Gabunia amounts to intervention in the sovereignty of Georgia and a Russian plan to destabilize the country.
In the statement, the NGOs urge the authorities to conduct a transparent investigation and provide the public with full information about the possible assassination plan.
Among the signatories of the appeal are Transparency International Georgia, the Open Society Foundation, the Media Development Fund, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, the Georgian Reform Association, and others.
On June 15, the director of the opposition television channel Mtavari Arkhi Nika Gvaramia stated that one individual had been detained in Tbilisi who was planning to assassinate Giorgi Gabunia by order of the President of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.
Kadyrov publicly threatened the journalist after the latter used obscene language on the air against Russian President Vladimir Putin last year in July.
The State Security Service of Georgia is conducting an investigation into the case. However, at this stage, law enforcement officers have not directly confirmed that the detainee was preparing to murder Gabunia.
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The NGOs say the situation is aggravated by the fact that the intended victim of the plot is a journalist, and this action is directed against his freedom of expression.
“It’s outrageous that the Russian authorities intensified their attacks on those who criticise Putin … All this also aims to intimidate media representatives or activists in Georgia who constantly remind the public about the Russian occupation and the occupation policy of the Russian government towards Georgia,” the statement said .
The purpose of this action could be to provoke unrest in the country against the backdrop of the pandemic and tense pre-election atmosphere, the authors of the appeal believe.
The plotting of such actions on the territory of another country should be considered interference in the sovereignty of Georgia.
Non-governmental organizations urge the Georgian authorities to conduct a transparent investigation, ensure the involvement of experts from partner countries and provide the public with full information about the planned crime.
The authors also urge Georgia-friendly countries to pay close attention to “new forms of Russian activity” in Georgia.