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Georgian Journalists Appeal Fines To Ombudsman

Giorgi Tughushi

Giorgi Tughushi

Six journalists and members of the opposition movement Defend Georgia have complained to the office of human rights ombudsman Giorgi Tughushi after being fined for an altercation during a visit by President Mikheil Saakashvili last week, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

The journalists said members of Saakashvili's bodyguard forcibly prevented them from filming a meeting between Saakashvili and local officials when he visited the west Georgian town of Zugdidi on December 31.

They added that a camera was confiscated from one journalist.

The six were subsequently charged with verbally insulting Zugdidi Governor Aleksandre Kobalia and damaging his vehicle.

A local court fined them each 100 laris ($58.87).

The journalists reject the charges and plan to appeal the fines. They will also lodge a formal complaint against Saakashvili's bodyguards and local police.