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Public Defender’s Statement on the Investigation into Forced Refusal of Property Rights by Rustavi 2 TV Founders

The Public Defender’s Office of Georgia has been studying applications of the Rustavi 2 TV founders, Davit Dvali and Jarji Akimidze, since February 2018. Applicants complain about the pending investigation in the Prosecutor General's Office under part 3 of Article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia in connection with the forced refusal of their property rights in 2004.

During the study of the case, the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia appealed to the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia several times - 26 April, 1 June, 29 October, 31 January, 27 February, 19 and 28 March and 5 June, 2018. The Office also requested information from LEPL Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau on 31 January, 28 March and 2 May in 2019.

The analysis of the information obtained from the state agencies showed that the examination appointed for the purpose of obtaining one of the important evidences in the given case has not been completed within one year, since the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia has not submitted investigative materials to the Forensics Bureau yet. In particular, financial examination was appointed in April 2018 and an additional question was asked by the client (Prosecutor's Office) in June 2018. On 17 and 7 April 2018, the Forensics Bureau requested additional documentation from the client, which has been only partially submitted. The Forensics Bureau explained that the examination would be completed after the submission of full documentation.

According to the information provided by the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia, certain period of time is needed to obtain the requested documentation due to its volume and they will be handed over to the Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau as soon as they get them.

The mentioned criminal case has been discussed by the Public Defender at the meeting with the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia, during which, the latter was provided information about the delayed investigation.

It should be noted that the 15-year limitation period in the given case expires in June 2019. Taking into consideration this circumstance, the Public Defender's Office again addressed the Prosecutor's Office on 5 June to find out whether they would be able to timely obtain the necessary materials and provide them to the Forensics Bureau. However, the Office has not yet received a reply from the Prosecutor's Office.

We call on the Prosecutor General's Office to provide explanations of why the investigation is pending and why no final decision has been made yet.

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