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MIA names drug overdose as cause of Lashkarava's death in ‘interim report’

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, July 14
The Ministry of Internal Affairs held the third briefing on the case of TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava’s death on the night of July 12. The MIA says that according to an intermediate chemical examination, a drug was found in his blood and the cause of death may have been an overdose.

The MIA also talked about the route of Lexo Lashkarava before his death. It was said that he bought drugs in Ponichala - one of the well-known districts of drug dealing in the outskirts of Tbilisi, which was confirmed by witnesses. According to the agency, Lashkarava and his drunken friend consumed the purchased drug in Ortachala, in a forest, where Lashkarava felt unwell and this can be proved by the video footage obtained from the nearby surveillance cameras.

According to Mamuka Chelidze, Director of the Central Criminal Police Department, more than 200 investigative and procedural actions were carried out within the framework of the investigation into the death of Lashkarava. 110 people were interrogated and 65 video surveillance cameras were viewed.

Chelidze informed that the forensic medical examination was conducted to determine the immediate cause of death, involving an independent expert hired by the family. According to the conclusion of the chemical expertise, the samples taken from the corpse contained drugs, "morphine", "codeine", "tetrahydrocannabinol", "pentin" and "monoacetylmorphine". The Head of Criminal Police Department said, the family called an ambulance on July 11, at 6 am, the doctors found Lekso Lashkarava already dead and then the police came to his house.

The cameraman, who was found dead in his home by family members on the morning of July 11, fell victim to brutal physical retaliation by right-wing hate gangs on July 5 while filming at the office of Shame Movement. According to journalist Miranda Baghaturia, they were beaten by about 20 violators. Only 5 people accused of violence against him have been arrested - one has been arrested after death, 4 have been sentenced to imprisonment. Meanwhile, on the July 5 events, 21 orcs have been charged. 36 people are declared as affected, including 30 journalists and cameramen.

After the death of Lekso Lashkarava, the demand for the resignation of the government was on the agenda. The government says it is not going to resign, the public is trying to put pressure through rallies.

Lashkarava had his facial bones crushed after being attacked by hate groups, which led to surgery.

The MIA indicated his connection to drugs before receiving the answer to the examination of the cause of death, and to discredit the deceased, a special category of personal information about him was spread on the Internet. The investigation has not said anything about the fact that he was severely beaten by violent groups a few days before his death, the police did not protect the cameraman. It should be noted that before the MIA raised the issue of a drug overdose, this version was spread in the pro-Russian media.

Family members say Lekso Lashkarava was in severe pain after the beating and surgery. On the 11th of July the mother of the deceased cameraman then said he was treated with a strong painkiller at the hospital for at least 3 days and if interested, the investigation could take a look at the medical history. The family demands severe punishment for the accused in beating the cameraman.

“Punish the people who caused physical damage and brought him to this state. We will not tolerate this story to go that way,” said Lashkarava's wife, Irine Lomsadze.