Three found guilty of attacking TV journalist Vakho Sanaia, sentenced to six months time served

Sanaia received a concussion and as he said he sustained multiple injuries on his body as a result of the attack. Photo:, 25 Aug 2021 - 14:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Three individuals have been found guilty for attacking Formula TV journalist Vakho Sanaia in late February in front of his wife and child and sentenced to six months of imprisonment with time served given they have been in detention for six months.

Suliko Sakevarashvili, Vazha Gigauri and Giorgi Sakhelashvili attacked Sanaia on February 25 when he was returning home with his family and were detained the same day. 

Sanaia received a concussion and as he said he sustained multiple injuries on his body as a result of the attack. 

As an additional punishment, Tbilisi City Court sentenced Sakevarashvili and Gigauri to community service of 150 hours each. Gigauri has also been fined 2,500 GEL (about $801/€682).

Vakho Sanaia, who linked the attack to his journalistic activities, responded to the court decision and stated that the ruling Georgian Dream party released the attackers noting that ‘this creates a syndrome of impunity in this country.’ 

The judge found them guilty but released them. We have a shameful judiciary,” Sanaia said. 

Several NGOs have released a joint statement which says that the Georgian government ‘does not protect the lives and safety of media representatives,’ noting that justice has not been enforced in the case of Vakho Sanaia.

Ruling party officials are in a mode of political opposition to the critical media. They answer journalists' questions with hate speech, aggression and boycott and encourage further attacks on the media,” the statement says.

Sanaia stated back then that the attack was the result of a ‘negative campaign against critical TV channels.’

The Georgian Interior Ministry reported that the attackers were under the influence of alcohol when they attacked Vakho Sanaia.