Journalists who turned up to cover a protest outside a Georgian courthouse got an earful from a local police chief on January 7. Demonstrators were fired up over pretrial custody ordered for two athletes accused of robbing police officers.
The Human Rights Center
provided this account of what ensued, as told by its reporter:
After the trial, attendees of the court hearing held a protest in front of the courthouse. Associates of the detainees explained to us that the athletes simply had an argument with an off-duty police officer and it had nothing to do with the robbery.... When the protest was over, police division head Soso Martashvili approached us in a police car and started insulting us.... He insulted us and threatened us with arrest: "Forget this case or the police might find drugs in your pockets."
Some of the assembled journalists -- including from TV broadcasters Rustavi-2 and the First Channel -- suggested that Martashvili appeared to have been drinking and used some choice profanity.
We were keen to give the police chief an opportunity to respond dispassionately and set the record straight. So I telephoned him to ask whether he'd indeed threatened any journalists.
"It's all f***ing bulls**t!", he said, and then suggested I come visit him and listen to his story. "F**k all journalists! Come here, stand by my side, and I'll nicely explain everything to you. And then you'll see what happens. I will f**k the mothers of all those journalists! Got it?"
-- David Mchedlidze