DRI: Defendants in July 5 case continue aggression against reporters in court
Today, in Tbilisi City Court, one of the defendants in the case of July 5 mass violence[1] made a threatening statement against affected journalist Rati Tsverava,[2] after he called the participants in violence “bastards”.
"Let me go, let me approach him and give me another 6 years"; "I am here because of such people"; "You hit such a villain and then you find yourself in prison."
The footage showing the brutal violence against journalist Rati Tsverava when he was performing duties on July 5, 2021 is publicly available. However, only one person has been arrested so far in relation to this episode.
The hostile environment towards affected journalists during court hearings is not new. On February 11, another defendant also insulted a journalist of the Main Channel. In a trial monitoring report released by the Democracy Research Institute relating to the violence of July 5, 2021, the organization repeatedly highlighted the intimidating and tense environment in the courtroom during the questioning of victims, experts and witnesses. It should be noted that the defence strategy in the July 5 cases is often based on aggressive attitudes towards journalists (except for representatives of the pro-government and pro-Russian media). The defence calls them provocateurs and tries to shift the responsibility to the victims.
The Democracy Research Institute has repeatedly said that the inappropriate response by officials to the July 5 mass violence and the impunity of organizers may encourage commission of similar crimes in the future.

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On July 5, 2021, homophobic and hate groups took to Rustaveli Avenue to disrupt the March of Dignity, an event scheduled as part of Tbilisi Pride Week in Tbilisi. During attacks on the tents of Georgian Dream opponents near the Parliament building, as well as the Shame and Tbilisi Pride offices, about 53 journalists and civilians were injured, while the cameraman of TV Pirveli died on July 11 after suffering serious injuries.
[1] The case is being considered by judge Nino Chakhnashvili. 7 persons have been charged with: Article 225 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (Organizing, leading group violence or participating in it) - participation in group violence by using a weapon, Article 156 (Persecution) - part 2, subparagraph “a” - persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation, by using violence, and Article 154 (Illegally interfering with professional activities of a journalist).
[2] The journalist of Formula TV.