The Democracy Research Institute (DRI) is responding to the ineffectiveness and non-transparency of the unreasonably protracted investigation into the death of Alexandre (Lekso) Lashkarava. Five months after his death, the public is still not aware of the final medical examination report on the causal link between Lekso Lashkarava’s death and the injuries he sustained on July 5, as well as information about the progress of the investigation or the measures taken by the State.
TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava died on July 11. He became the victim of severe physical injuries inflicted by hate groups while performing his professional duties near the office of the Shame Movement on July 5. Lekso Lashkarava had his facial bones broken after the attack, which necessitated surgery.
The Vake-Saburtalo Police Department launched an investigation into the death of Lekso Lashkarava under Article 115 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, pertaining to incitement to suicide. According to the information available to DRI, the investigation is still ongoing under the same article.
The Tbilisi City Court is currently considering 4 cases of mass violence organized by hate groups. Evidence is currently being examined. 6 people were accused of violence against Lekso Lashkarava and Miranda Baghaturia.
Three days before the pre-trial hearing, based on the forensic examination report, charges against the defendants were aggravated under Article 118, part 3 (Intentional less grave bodily injury). The mentioned medical report referred to injuries sustained as a result of the July 5 events.
The Democracy Research Institute considers that the investigation into the death of Lekso Lashkarava could be seen as an attempt to cover up the perpetrators and organizers of gang violence. It should be noted that a hearing of the case on its merits was launched so that no causal link had been established between the violence of 5 July and the death of 11 July. It is impossible to aggravate charges during the hearing of the case on its merits. Accordingly, in the event of establishing a causal link between the injuries indicated in the medical report and the death of Lekso Lashkarava on 11 July, the prosecution of the defendants for this outcome will be procedurally impossible, while their repeated conviction for the death of Lekso Lashkarava may run counter to the major principles of criminal law. Therefore, due to the high public interest, the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia and other investigative bodies should ensure that the public is informed about the progress of the case.
In addition, it is extremely worrying that the organizers of the mass violence have not been arrested so far, even though their identities are known to the public as well as to the investigative bodies.
DRI calls on the investigative bodies to conduct an objective investigation into the death of Lekso Lashkarava and to arrest the organizers of the July 5-6 mass violence.
The exception is the State Inspector's Office, which assessed the release of video recordings of Lekso Lashkarava's movement as a violation of personal data protection and fined the Ministry of Internal Affairs GEL 2,000.
The following charges have been filed against all six defendants: Article 225 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (Participation in group violence by using weapons), subparagraph “a” of part 2 of Article 156 (Persecution) - persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation, accompanied by violence, Article 154 (Unlawful interference with journalist’s professional activities), part 3 of Article 118 (Intentional less grave bodily injury) committed in aggravating circumstances, related to the professional duties and committed by a group, part 4 of Article 117 (Intentional infliction of grave injury - only against one defendant, C. Ch.).