News
Democracy Research Institute: The investigation launched by the State Security Service shows signs of political bias
03.07.2020

The Democracy Research Institute is observing the investigation launched by the State Security Service into the TV story of Mtavari Arkhi (Main Channel) and notes that both the investigation of a case under the article pertaining to sabotage and the investigative activities conducted by the investigative agency have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression, represent  an obvious interference with the activities of the media and political parties, and should be regarded as yet another political bias shown by the State Security Service.

Incomplete definition of sabotage (Article 318 of the Criminal Code of Georgia)

Pursuant to Article 318 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, sabotage is interference with the normal functioning of public or other enterprises, institutions, organisations or agencies for the purpose of weakening Georgia.[1] The launch of an investigation against members of political parties and critical media outlets without the signs of the purpose of weakening Georgia, underscores, at the very least, the absence of such an intention.

In addition, no interference with the normal functioning of public or other enterprises, institutions, organisations or agencies, which is a necessary precondition of sabotage, has been proved.  Therefore, when dealing with an action determined by a purpose such as sabotage, the State Security Service failed to identify the purpose of specific persons - to weaken Georgia - or an action that interfered with the functioning of public or other enterprises, institutions, organisations or agencies.

Excessive competencies and selective approach of the State Security Service

Georgian legislation does not provide a proper rule for investigative and territorial distribution of criminal cases. Given the flawed legislative regulations, excessice power of the State Security Service, under minimal parliamentary and public control, gives the Service the opportunity to go beyond the mandate prescribed by law and abuse its powers. The recent investigation launched by the State Security Service against religious leaders, local activists and NGOs in certain regions[2] also reinforces the assumption of concentration of excessive power in the State Security Service and its political bias.

Against a backdground of ignoring a number of organized disinformation campaigns (allegedly of Russian origin) during the state of emergency, which were aimed at instilling distrust among population towards the decision-makers and public health organizations,[3] the launch of an investigation against critical media and politicians in the pre-election period by referring to abstract and absent danger, should be seen as an attempt to establish total control over the freedom of expression.

 

[1] Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 318, part 1

[2] https://emc.org.ge/ka/products/emc-mirtagi-asadovi-sus-shi-daibares; as well as https://emc.org.ge/ka/products/emc-sus-shi-mimdinare-gamodziebasa-da-tamta-mikeladzis-gamokitkhvis-protsess-ekhmianeba

[3] Far-right online media monitoring results, March report http://www.democracyresearch.org/geo/269?fbclid=IwAR0jz0TLJVrRI1XiZklDSIH6UmAfOxAzSg4A3XDC1oCYF7E5mPSCJZWpQQ4,  5G technology, Russian disinformation and coronavirus https://idfi.ge/ge/5g_technology_russian_disinformation_and_coronavirus

საზოგადოებრივი ორგანიზაციები მთავრობას: შეწყდეს ოკუპირებული ტერიტორიების მიმდებარე სოფლებში დაშვების შეზღუდვა
საზოგადოებრივი ორგანიზაციები ეხმიანებიან ოკუპირებული ცხინვალის რეგიონის/სამხრეთ ოსეთის მიმდებარე სოფლებში უსაფრთხოების სამსახურების მიერ მედიის, სამოქალაქო საზოგადოებისა და პოლიტიკური პარტიების წარმომადგენლების დაშვების ზოგად და ბლანკეტურ შეზღუდვას. 
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