DRI: Statements by Georgian Dream leaders set a dangerous precedent for using violence for political purposes
On June 6, 2022, Davit Berdzenishvili, one of the leaders of the Republican Party of Georgia, and Khatuna Samnidze, a member of the Georgian Parliament, were attacked by two men on Rustaveli Avenue. The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an investigation under an article pertaining to violence in the episode of Davit Berdzenishvili (Article 126 of the Criminal Code) and under an article pertaining to threats in the episode of Khatuna Samnidze (Article 151 of the Criminal Code). On the same day, politicians were identified as victims. On June 7, 2022, Davit Berdzenishvili underwent a forensic medical examination due to his health damage.
Instead of emphasizing the inadmissibility of violence, on June 7, 2022, at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Archil Talakvadze, and the Chairman of the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia Party, Irakli Kobakhidze, made statements inciting violence against politicians. Their rhetoric, which instead of condemning violence against victims, was aimed at portraying the opposition as the enemy,
carried the threat of physical persecution of people with different opinions. In addition, similar statements by political officials set a dangerous precedent for using violence for partisan political purposes.
The legal interests of the victims are being defended by the Democracy Research Institute. According to the DRI, the Georgian Prosecutor's Office should take into account the motive for the crime. The victims represent an opposition political force and support both the protection of minority rights and European integration. When committing the crime, the attackers expressed aggression towards the politician’s activities and publicly stated opinions. Although law enforcement agencies know the identities of the attackers, they have not yet been charged.
"Attack on national identity," "Distinct hatred of the Georgian people"
Only one of the two persons (I.Kh.) has been arrested.