Aprili Media Journalist, Who Was Beaten by Special Forces, Was Called by a Stranger and Threatened with Violence

Aprili Media journalist, Giorgi Baskhajauri, who was physically assaulted by the special forces during the April 16 protest against the Russian law, was called by strangers today, was given his own address and threatened.

“At first he asked me if I know Nikoloz and Alexandre Adamias. I asked who it was and he started swearing at me. When he mentioned my building, I realized that this was about something else. He swore at me and I swore too. When I asked for his name, he told me to wear an invisibility hat, because you won’t even know when I will appear and beat you. It was a Ukrainian number, but he spoke in Georgian,” says Giorgi Baskhajauri.

Other participants of protests against the Russian law also write on social networks about calls with similar content from foreign numbers. According to the information of the citizens, they call from numbers registered with telephone codes of different countries, first they ask if they have read the Russian law and then they swear at them.

In some cases, the numbers coincide. For example, the Aprili Media journalist Giorgi Baskhajauri and several other people were called from the number: +380 (0564) 21 07 84, and some activists from the number in which only the last two digits are different: +380 (0564) 21 07 65. According to the available information, the phone numbers of different countries are possible to obtain even without leaving the country, therefore, there is an assumption that the participants of the protests are called from within the country and such numbers are used for the purpose of mixing up their traces.

It should be noted that a few hours ago, Natia Beridze, the representative of the propaganda TV station under the control of the government, POSTV wrote on Facebook:

“A very good group has been created, if you want to be a part of it, write to me in private messages. The group serves a single purpose, we all play according to their rules! As you know, liberal fascism got into these pests, but the goal of this group is to decipher each one of them and to respond in exactly the same way as they behave themselves. Will they bully someone? They will be bullied. Will they dare to publish someone’s address? We will make their addresses public and respond to whatever they do. Will they post anyone’s phone numbers? We will publish their numbers. Will anyone be treated badly at the protest?! Specific persons will be deciphered and one by one, they will receive answers personally, using the same methods! Will they affect families? We will communicate with their families. Yes, we will play their game, speak their language. Nothing new, nothing foreign, nothing different. We will have attained all their methods. This is just the beginning, the film is ahead”.

It is not known whether this plan of Beridze and the calls and threats to the participants of the rally are related to each other.

On April 16, Giorgi Baskhajauri, a journalist of Aprili Media, who covers the ongoing processes at the parliament, was physically assaulted by special forces. He had a linear fracture of the nose, which required medical intervention. In addition, according to the doctor, Giorgi Baskhajauri had multiple bruises.

He was beaten by the law enforcement officers and called “pedarast” as a homophobic slur.

“They beat me, they called me a pedarast, told me to get the hell out of here, I ran away and several robocops were hitting me from above. When I was down and they were hitting me, I told them that I am a journalist. They called me a pedarast, told me that I would learn to be smart, and then they let me go.”

According to Giorgi, the special forces started violence when the television media left the area and when there was no tension or confrontation and there were few people left in the area.

After the Georgian Dream broke the promise given to the population and re-initiated the Russian law, the protest in front of the parliament have been going on non-stop. The only difference between the project and the previous year is that the concept of “agent of foreign influence” has been replaced by the concept of “organization carrying out the interests of a foreign power”. Citizens have been asking the government for a month to withdraw the law that harms the country and the pro-Western course. The authorities repeatedly used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon against them. There is no sector left whose representatives have not expressed a position against the draft law. The statements of the country’s strategic partners are also critical. Nevertheless, Georgian Dream claims that it will accept the law anyway. It was in connection with the draft law and not only that, disinformation, anti-Western and propaganda narratives were spread by  the honorary chairman of the party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who gave a speech at the counter organized by the government.

It should be noted that on April 3, Georgian Dream initiated the project of  homophobic, anti-human rights changes, which, among other things, includes restrictive reservations and censorship of expression.