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Georgian government critic beaten

17 June 2024
Leri Darjania. Photo: Datuna Danelia/Facebook, via Netgazeti.

Georgian civil activist and student Leri Darjania, 22, was reportedly attacked by a group of people outside his home on Monday morning.

A friend of Darjania’s, Datuna Danelia, shared information of the attack on his Facebook page on Monday morning, with a photograph showing Darjania hospitalised with facial injuries. 

Speaking to TV Pirveli, Darjania said that during the beating, his attackers accused him of being a member of the United National Movement, informally referred to as ‘nationals’. 

‘They beat me severely, told me “you are a national” ’, said Darjania, adding that he was not a member of any political party. 

‘Most likely, they [beat] me because I go to rallies’.

Danelia claimed that the attackers were ‘titushki’ — Ukrainian slang for plainclothes security forces used by officials to attack anti-government protesters — employed by the ruling Georgian Dream party. 

Speaking to media, Danelia claimed that Darjania was attacked in front of his house, as he was leaving for work. Danelia added that additional attackers had been sat in a car nearby. 


‘There were about 6–7 people, probably they were not armed, they were [there] with bare hands. They didn’t explain anything, they went directly to the beating’, said Danelia. He added that he was not aware if there had been threats against Darjania prior to the attack. 

Local media reported that none of the attackers had yet been identified, but that the Interior Ministry had begun an investigation into the incident on charges of violence. 

Darjania is the latest government critic to be targeted with intimidation and violence, with at least ten others reporting being beaten and harassed in the streets and near their homes. 

While a number of attackers have been publicly identified by media, none have yet been arrested or charged, despite the Interior Ministry’s claims that it was investigating the attacks. 

[Read more: Beatings, harassment, and no arrests: Georgian Government critics under attack]

A campaign of violence and harassment against government critics, which began after massive protests broke out against the reintroduced foreign agent law, has continued unabated since the law’s passage.

Alongside the physical attacks, politicians, activists, non-governmental organisations, and media organisations have received threatening calls and had their homes and offices vandalised. 

Georgia’s foreign agent law would label any civil society or media organisation that received at least 20% of its funding from outside Georgia ‘organisations carrying out the interests of a foreign power’. Such organisations would be subject to ‘monitoring’ by the Ministry of Justice every six months, which lawyers have warned could include forcing them to hand over internal communications and confidential sources. Organisations that do not comply would be subject to large fines.

Right now, online media in Georgia is in dire need of safety equipment, legal support, and technology as we cover increasingly challenging circumstances. Support small, independent media outlets in Georgia via our collective fundraiser.

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