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TV Pirveli cameraman dies following July 5 violent events

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, July 12
Lekso Lashkarava, a cameraman of TV Pirveli, who was mercilessly beaten by hate groups during the raid on the office of Shame Movement on July 5 died yesterday.

On July 8, the Ministry of Internal Affairs detained two people, Tornike Davlasheridze and Akaki Nakashidze, for assaulting Lekso Lashkarava and Miranda Baghaturia. They have been sentenced to imprisonment as a measure of restraint.

According to the prosecution, they beat and kicked media representatives occasionally using blunt objects. Lekso required urgent surgery after receiving multiple injuries in his head including broken face bones.

Journalist Miranda Baghaturia, recalling the fact of violence, told FormulaTV that up to 20 people had abused them. When violent groups were trying to raid Shame’s office and were harassing the media, the severe lack of law enforcement was evident.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Carl Hartzell issued a special statement regarding the death of a TV Pirveli journalist. The Ambassador offered his condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the cameraman.

“While we are still awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the causes of his death, let me reiterate that the EU strongly condemns the violence and strongly and unwaveringly supports freedom of the media and assembly,” noted the EU Ambassador.

The President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili also offered her condolences, saying that she “didn’t know what to say to Lekso’s mother”. She also added that everyone who had to do anything with his death must be punished.

Yesterday, 20 NGOs have issued a joint statement calling on the resignation of Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, and the Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri.

The NGOs say that the government of the country is responsible for the violence that took place on July 5. The Ministry of Internal Affairs held a special briefing yesterday, where among the probable causes of death of the late cameraman of TV Pirveli, they focused on his ‘possible drug overdose.’

Despite the fact that Mamuka Chelidze, the head of the criminal police, insisted that he did not want to voice any version in advance, he still focused on the investigation’s unsupported version of the fact of substance abuse. Yesterday, two rallies were held in Tbilisi to protests the violence against journalists, and the protesters called on the authorities to resign before today noon.

The Messenger offers condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lekso Lashkarava and stands by the media in protest.