Prosecutor General’s Office to appeal reduced sentences for individuals who assaulted journalists covering 2021 Tbilisi Pride

The Prosecutor General’s Office will appeal the Tbilisi Court of Appeals ruling over June 2021 events. Photo: Prosecutor General’s Office, 16 Jan 2023 - 18:12, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Prosecutor General’s Office will appeal the Tbilisi Court of Appeals ruling that reduced sentences for six individuals charged with assaulting reporters covering the Tbilisi Pride march in Georgia’s capital in 2021.

In response to the Court’s judgement earlier on Monday that reduced the sentences from five to four years of imprisonment, prosecutor Tamar Iakobidze said the ruling for those who had participated in the attacks that left over 50 reporters injured was “absolutely unacceptable”. 

She said the office would appeal the verdict to the country’s Supreme Court to ensure an “adequate sentence” for the offenders, also pledging to provide additional materials on a victim who received injuries to their eye in the incident for the upcoming trial. 

In its original ruling in April 2022, Tbilisi City Court found Akaki Nakashidze, Tornike  Davlasheridze, Davit Kutaladze, Otar Gelashvili, Tsotne Chikhladze and Gia Giguashvili guilty of group violence, persecution, obstruction of journalistic work and deliberate damage to health in the attacks, and sentenced each to five years in prison.

The ruling was followed by the Court of Appeals decision that found the group not guilty in an article for organisation or participation in group violence, and reduced their sentences to four years.

The assaults came ahead of the planned LGBTQ festival in the city on July 5, with participants of a right-wing counter rally - organised against the event - attacking reporters and TV crews who had gathered to cover the events. 

The 2021 edition of Tbilisi Pride was eventually cancelled following the violence against the journalists, and attacks on offices of organisers of the festival, throughout the first part of the day.