Ruling party supported candidate says she and her family have been threatened

Salome Zurabishvili says that the civil sector has ignored violations against her. Photo: Salome Zurabishvili’s press office., 12 Nov 2018 - 12:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Dream ruling party supported presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili says that she and her family are being threatened by former servicemen affiliated with the United National Movement party.

Zurabishvili has already addressed the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the civil sector to react to open threats on her life, her son and daughter.

Zurabishvili stated today that her son Teimuraz Gorjestani and daughter Ketevan Gorjestani received messages and audio calls on 9,10 and 11 November.

The messages and calls included verbal abuse and words like these: ‘I’ll kill you’, ‘I’ll drink your blood’ and others. The threats are real as those who left the messages have been identified - they are former soldiers connected with the United National Movement and the party leaders.

It is very insulting for the state that people who are threatening a female presidential candidate and her family are using the name of the Georgian Armed Forces, of forces which are associated with bravery and honour,” Zurabishvili said.

Zurabishvili has accused the UNM, its leaders, supporters and “certain anchors” [supposedly referring to the Rustavi 2 private broadcaster] of trying to cause destabilisation in the country.

I have already appealed to the Interior Ministry for all necessary steps to be taken to prevent destabilisation,” Zurabishvili said.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that they have launched the investigation regarding the issue. 

She also called upon the civil sector to react to the violations against her and stated that her previous appeal to the civil sector had been ignored.

I appealed to the civil sector on 11 October first to react to violation of my rights by my opponents. However, the organisations which must protect human rights and take actions against the language of hatred and gender discrimination showed no interest in such incidents against me.

If they still fail to react timely and effectively, they will share the responsibility regarding my family or the destabilisation in the country together with the initiators of the mess,” Zurabishvili said.

Last week the Ministry of Defence responded to the statement made by General Devi Chankotadze, former head of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia, at the Mukhatgverdi cemetery of Georgian fallen heroes.

Chankotadze addressed the Georgian people not to support Zurabishvili.

The Defence Ministry stated that Chankotadze and the people who accompanied him are former servicemen and the statements made by them in military uniform were aimed at “misleading people.”

The ministry said that using the military uniform for political goals and an attempt to politicise the army  are “absolutely unacceptable”.

Such an action is an insult to all Georgian soldiers,” the ministry reported.

It remains unknown whether Chankotadze is related to the messages mentioned by Zurabishvili.

Zurabishvili and the UNM candidate Grigol Vashadze will fight for the presidential post in the election runoff which will be held no later than 2 December.