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Lekso Lashkarava was one of nearly 60 journalists and other media workers who were attacked on July 5 in Tbilisi.

A Georgian TV cameraman who was among dozens of journalists attacked by a right-wing mob during a melee aimed at LGBT campaigners has died.

Co-workers of Lekso Lashkarava said on July 11 that he had died, apparently of injuries suffered during the violence six days earlier, but provided no further details.

Lashkarava's employer, Pirveli TV, said that his body was found at his Tbilisi home by his mother on July 11.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that an investigation had been opened into his death.

Lashkarava, 37, was one of nearly 60 journalists and other media workers who were attacked on July 5 when hundreds of people took to the streets of Tbilisi to block a planned LGBT parade.

Two RFE/RL reporters were among those injured.

Anti-LGBT Protesters Attack Journalists In Tbilisi, Force Organizers To Cancel Pride Event
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The chaos, which included mobs scaling the building where the organizers of the Tbilisi Pride parade have their headquarters, drew criticism from press advocates and foreign governments.

Many have pointed blame at Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, who, on the morning of the scheduled parade, said it was inappropriate to hold the event, arguing that it would create confrontation and was "unacceptable for a large segment of the Georgian society.”

The Georgian Orthodox Church had also called on supporters to gather against the pride march.

Videos of the mobs showed some priests joining the protests. After the march was canceled, priests chanted and people danced to Georgian folk songs in front of the parliament.

A day after the event, thousands rallied in Tbilisi to denounce the violence. That event was largely peaceful, but right-wing activists, who were held back by police, later held their own event in front of parliament, where they tore down a European Union flag and burned it.

Diplomatic missions from 18 countries and the European Union condemned the violence and called on the Georgian government to protect people’s constitutional right to peacefully gather.

With reporting by AFP
A prison guard at the 32nd Penal Colony in Makiivka, a town controlled by Russia-backed forces in Ukraine's Donetsk region. (file photo)

The United Nations said torture and ill-treatment of detainees in territory controlled by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine is happening every day.

Deputy UN rights chief Nada al-Nashif said on July 9 that there are “egregious violations” committed in the Izolyatsia prison in Donetsk and other places of detention in separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.

The violations “continue on a daily basis, and are carried out systematically,” Nashif told the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

Kyiv has been battling pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions since 2014, when Moscow also seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The conflict has killed more than 13,000 people.

The report highlights the continuing failure of the Russian Federation to uphold its obligations as the occupying power in Crimea under international human rights law and international humanitarian law."
-- Nada al-Nashif, deputy UN rights chief

Nashif was presenting reports on detention, torture, and ill-treatment in eastern Ukraine, as well as on human rights in Crimea.

The deputy high commissioner for human rights said the report estimated that since the beginning of the conflict, around 4,000 conflict-related detainees have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment in both government-controlled territory and separatist-controlled territory.

“There has been little accountability for violations committed on either side of the contact line. While we can count victims in the thousands, perpetrators who have been brought to account only number in the dozens,” she said.

Nashif said torture and ill-treatment was greater in the initial stages of the conflict and has decreased over time, especially in government-controlled areas.

“From late 2016, the use of unofficial places of detention to hold conflict-related detainees for longer periods, lasting more than a few days, substantially decreased" in government areas, she said.

However, she said the UN was still able to document cases in government areas of arbitrary detention of conflict-related detainees in rented apartments or hotels lasting up to several days before they were transferred to official facilities.

But in separatist-controlled territory, “a large majority” of conflict-related detentions amounted to arbitrary detention and this practice continues, she said.

“In armed group-controlled territory, detention during the initial stages of the conflict lacked any semblance of legal process and often amounted to enforced disappearance,” Nashif said.

On Crimea, Nashif said her office was unable to conduct its mission on the ground and had to rely on information collected remotely.

Nonetheless, the report said Russian authorities regularly harassed lawyers defending clients and that courts delivered guilty verdicts in high-profile cases without a fair trial.

There were also documented allegations of torture and ill-treatment committed by Russian authorities against individuals in their custody in order to coerce them into self-incrimination or to testify against others.

“The report highlights the continuing failure of the Russian Federation to uphold its obligations as the occupying power in Crimea under international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” Nashif said.

Other issues of concern include poor conditions in detention facilities and the arbitrary arrests of 19 persons, including 11 Crimean Tatars.

Members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is banned in Russia, faced extremism-related charges and convictions for practicing their faith, the report said.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine is also under threat, Nashif said, with the number of church parishes decreasing from 49 prior to Russia’s occupation of Crimea to only five in 2020.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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