HRWF (24.11.2017) – On the 17th of October 2017 Georgian journalist of Rustavi-2 – one of the most popular Georgian TV channels – Tamaz Shavchishvili was kidnapped in Kyiv together with his friends Zurab Tsyntsadze, Vano Nadiradze and Mamuk Abashidze.  Journalist Tamaz Shavshyshvili, who for the last 3 years has been working in Ukraine with official accreditation of the Ministry of information policy in Ukraine was arrested by Security service of Ukraine in his own apartment. The representatives of Ukrainian authorities violently beat him, put a bag on his head, placed him in handcuffs and brought him to the airport Kyiv-Zhulyany with the purpose to expel him and put on a flight to Tbilisi.

Currently we have no information on the location of the Georgian journalist. His wife, who stayed in Ukraine, is 8 months pregnant. We appeal to the international Mass Media and International organizations to consider the fact that Ukrainian authorities systematically violate human rights.

At the moment we are observing a persecution campaign against the opposition and continuing persecution of foreign citizens in Ukraine, whereby Ukrainian state authorities carry out special operations on detention of foreign citizens staying on the territory of Ukraine on legal basis and holding Ukrainian residence permits that had been obtained in the due order in accordance with the law. For instance, during illicit and violent arrest of Georgi Rubashvili, Mikheil Abzianidze and David Makishvili that followed on 21.10.2017 causing injuries and not specifying the grounds, they were put on the ground with their faces down, pointed at with machine guns, put bags on their heads, violently put into police vans and brought to the airport Kyiv-Zhulyany, where they were interrogated in violation of the law. Afterwards they were put into a military jet of the national guards of Ukraine and forced to leave the territory of Ukraine about 7pm for Tbilisi, Georgia.

According to them during the flight they were tied to the chairs with their legs banded with sealing tape. Such illegal expel out of Ukraine was accompanied by persons, serving in the law enforcement authorities. During ungrounded arrest, imprisonment and illegal expel of Tamaz Shavshyshvili, Zurab Tsynadze, Vano Nadiradze, Mamuk Abshidze, Georgi Rubashvili, Mikheil Abzinaidze and David Makishvili it was not only migrant legislation that was violated, but also a set of articles of the Constitution of Ukraine (art. 26, 28, 29, 33, 36, 55, 57, 59, 64, 68), in particular: Foreign nationals and persons without nationality staying in Ukraine on legal grounds shall enjoy the same rights and liberties and have the same obligations as Ukrainian nationals. Every person has the right for respect of their dignity. Every human has a right for freedom and personal immunity.

Every person staying in Ukraine on legal grounds shall be granted freedom of travel and residence, as well as the right to freely leave the territory of Ukraine. The rights and freedoms of humans and citizens shall be protected by court. Every person shall be granted the right to be aware of their rights and obligations. Every person shall have the right for professional legal assistance.

Constitutional rights and freedoms of human and citizen may not be constrained with exception of cases provided for by the Constitution of Ukraine. Every person is obliged to firmly comply with the Constitution of Ukraine and Ukrainian laws, without encroachment on the rights, honour and dignity of other persons. Basing on the facts of ungrounded arrest and imprisonment, as well as illegal expel of Georgi Rubashvili, Mikheil Abzianidze and David Makishvili their lawyers filed a claim to the Authorized officer of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for human rights about initiation of criminal proceedings, and filed claims to the court against illegal actions of the state authorities. Freedom of speech and protection of human rights are the ground principles for a country with the rule of law.

Therefore we appeal to Ukrainian authorities to stop the cases of human rights violations, persecution of political opponents and to free the journalist Tamaz Shavshishvili and his associates. We also hope that Ukrainian journalists and International Community will not be silent and will actively demand Ukrainian authorities to respect human rights, freedom of speech and to guarantee the rule of law in the state.

Violeta MOSKALU Doctor of Philosophy, University of Lorraine (France) Expert in International Development Founder & CEO, Global Ukraine Foundation


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