Head of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Irakli Kobakhidze claims that the recent conclusion of the State Inspector’s Office that the release of videos by the country’s Interior Ministry in the case of deceased TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava was beyond the law, is ‘politically motivated.’
Kobakhidze says that ‘timely informing the public’ on the high-profile case was ‘crucial’ and that Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri and his body acted ‘in the full line with the law and the public interests.’
The State Inspector’s Office fined the Interior Ministry 2,000 GEL today for the violation of the law on the protection of personal data in Lashkarava’s case.
Lashkarava was attacked by right-wing activists during Tbilisi Pride events in central Tbilisi on July 5 and was found dead in his home on July 11.
NGOs and the opposition had accused the government and the Interior Ministry ‘of allowing violent groups to attack journalists’ and stated that injuries received during the attack allegedly caused the death of the cameraman.
However, in its briefing on July 11, the ministry released videos and said that the alleged cause of death was the drug overdose.
At the same time, the ministry spokesperson stated during the briefing that a final conclusion could be made only after the results of the autopsy were made available.
The State Inspector’s Office said that the videos failed to provide a concrete reason for the death and the ministry was unable to make clear connections between the videos and the causes of death of Lashkarava.