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Coalition for Equality calls on prosecutor's office to respond to Tamta Todadze's case

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, October 9
Coalition for Equality expresses its solidarity with Tamta Todadze and calls on the Prosecutor's Office to launch a timely and effective investigation into the worrisome case of sexual and physical abuse. Considering the official status of the alleged accused, the Coalition also urges government officials to maintain their impartiality in the public position on the case and to promote tolerance and legitimacy of violence against women through their statements.

The Coalition for Equality calls for:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor's Office to carry out all necessary investigative actions in a timely manner, which ensures effective, timely and independent investigation of the alleged violence against Todadze, punishing the offender. Grant the status of the victim to Tamta Todadze.

Senior officials should refrain from statements that directly or indirectly support the alleged perpetrator of violence against women, thereby further encouraging violence.

The media, while reporting on cases of violence against women, must uphold the standards of journalistic ethics, the interests of the victim, their dignity and their personal space. Understand the problem and scale of violence against women.

“Talking about violence against women in a patriarchal society is always accompanied by stigma. In cases of such violence, the patriarchal logic still holds the woman accountable and tries to blame her. Tamta Todadze's public speaking on the issue of violence is essential to expose and criticize violence against women and support victims.” –reads the statement.

The coalition also singles out Tbilisi mayor Kakha Kaladze's statement that it is inconceivable that Jishkariani committed violence. The document also highlights public statements by city hall officials and persons affiliated with the ruling party that blame and insult the victim of the violence.

Statement in support of Tamta Todadze was signed by 10 member organizations of the Coalition for Equality.

Ilia Jishkariani, MP of the Tbilisi City Assembly and the official of the ruling Georgian Dream party, was accused of sexual harassment and physical abuse by his assistant, Tamta Todadze, who claims that he beat her after she refused to engage in sexual activity with him. She claims the incident was not properly investigated by law enforcement agencies, the majority MP was not questioned in time and was summoned for questioning only after the public directly demanded he is charged.

“If he was not a government official, he would already have been arrested,” Todadze told media. Jishkariani himself denies the accusation and calls this an attempt to blackmail him.

Jishkariani's assistant still has evidence of violence on her body, in bruises, a fact which has been confirmed by the LEPL Levan Samkharauli, National Forensics Bureau.

However, the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia has not yet granted her victim status, nor has Ilia Jishkarian been officially charged.

This resulted in outrage in society and the protest rally was held on October 7 at the Prosecutor General’s office in support of Todadze: “This is not just Tamta's fight, it is the struggle of every woman in Georgia!”

Ida Bakhturidze, an activist for the Women's Movement, suspects that the alleged abuser is being protected for political reasons.

“More than a week has passed and this case has neither the accused nor the victim. We hear from the mayor of the city, that he knows this person (Jishkariani) that he is a good man, that he is awaiting for investigation and nothing else,” - Bakhturidze said. She demands, on the one hand, the termination of the council member's authority for Jishkariani, and on the other hand accusation.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the investigation is being carried out under three articles. Article 126 of the Criminal Code (which means violence); Article 138 (which means any other act of a sexual nature) and article 187 (which means damage to an item).