The safety of every Georgian journalist and the credibility of democracy in Georgia, in fact, require that every individual who attacked peaceful protesters and journalists on July 5th and 6th or those who incited violence – they must be identified; they should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, Ned Price U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.
“We extend our deepest condolences to your former colleague Lekso Lashkarava, to his family, loved ones, and of course to his colleagues, yourself included. We’re closely following the reports concerning his death. We do call for calm and an end to the violence that has already caused one tragic loss of life, in this case the death of your colleague. The safety of every Georgian journalist and the credibility of democracy in Georgia, in fact, require that every individual who attacked peaceful protesters and journalists on July 5th and 6th or those who incited violence – they must be identified; they should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We remind Georgia’s leaders and its law enforcement of their responsibility to protect all of those exercising their constitutional rights. We remind them of their responsibility to protect journalists exercising the freedom of press – of the press. And we encourage all Georgians, including Georgian officials, to publicly condemn this type of violence that has no place in a democracy.
We proudly advance efforts around the globe to protect LGBTQI populations from violence and abuse, criminalization, discrimination, and stigma, and we seek to empower local LGBTQI+ movements and persons. We firmly oppose abuses against the LGBTQI+ community and, of course, in this case, the brutal violence against your former colleague, your now deceased colleague. When it comes to the prime minister and his future, that, of course, is a decision for the Georgian people”, said Ned Price.
When asked if the US Government planned to impose personal sanctions against those officials in the Georgian Government who were directly responsible for the violence, Ned Price replied by saying:
“We have a number of tools to hold accountable those responsible in some way for human rights abuses, for violence around the world. Sanctions are indeed one of those tools. As you know, we don’t preview sanctions before we enact them. But we are following the situation very closely, and we are committed to seeing to it that those responsible for this are held accountable.
When it comes to all political actors in Georgia, again, we urge them to very publicly condemn this violence. When it comes to the Georgian Government, I would reiterate our calls for a thorough investigation of this that leads to the perpetrators of this horrific crime being brought to justice”, said Ned Price.