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Georgia will pay the convicted journalists2009-02-04 17:57
Subject to the European Court ruling Tbilisi will pay over 26 thousand Euro to ex top managers of 202 independent TV company Shalva Ramishvili and David Kokhreidze. In 2005 they were convicted of blackmailing parliament's deputy Koba Bekauri and sentenced to 4 and 3 years respectively.
Strasbourg did not dismiss the charges against the journalists but criticized violation of the procedural legislation and the European convention on Human Rights.
One of TV202 co-founders Shalva Ramishvili did not admit his guilt and is still held in detention. He calls the case on 100 thousand dollars extortion for holding off broadcast of an exposing story a fabrication. His colleague - the director of the channel David Kokhreidze - preferred to repent and was granted pardon in 2007.
Ramishvili did not deny having taken the money from the deputy - the star of the incriminating film - he recorded it. According to him it was done to show the face of today's authorities in Georgia, Kavkazsky Uzel writes.
Koba Bekauri, the deputy that accused TV202 journalists of bribery, one of the leaders of the dominant "United National Movement" party, resigned three years ago. The documentary was planned for broadcast by 202 TV as Kommersant wrote and was supposed to feature the people's deputy being engaged in business alongside with his parliament work which is prohibited by the Georgian law "On conflict of interests". He had registered his company in favor of his wife.
In late August 2005 Koba Bekauri filed a report to Georgia's Interior Ministry on the fact of blackmail on the part of the journalists that demanded money for the film not to appear on TV. The transfer of money was recorded. As seen in the record Ramishvili got 30 thousand dollars and asked to bring another 70 thousand.
Following the arrest of Ramishvili and Kokhreidze in an interview with Rustavi-2 TV the deputy contradicted the existence of any incriminating material stating that he had referred to the Interior Ministry to "expose corruption in the Georgian media", as Civil Georgia reports. Bekauri's activity was examined by the parliamentary committee that did not confirm the conclusions made in the film by Reporter independent studios. However for some reason the deputy did not take legal action on protection of his honor and reputation.
Soon 202 TV stopped its activity.
Opposition parties started discussing "discrimination of free media".