Date: 2020-07-09
Period: 2020 Parliamentary elections - Pre-election period
District: Khulo
Incident Category: Intimidation , Threatening
2020-07-09 On May 7, employees of Ajara Police Department arrested 2 individuals - Eldar Antadze and Rezo Tsulukidze on charges of hooliganism. Their family members and friends are holding permanent protest rallies in Batumi, claiming that they have been unfairly arrested. During a protest on June 15, brother of Rezo Tsulukidze - wrestler Piruz Tsulukidze said that before the arrest, father of Ajara A/R Government Chairperson Tornike Rizhvadze, Davit Rizhvadze gathered athletes and had a conspiratorial meeting with them at the police department, in presence of Ajara chief of police. At the meeting he asked athletes for their help for the 2020 parliamentary election. In exchange, he promised to provide financial benefits and support their business activities. According to him, the authorities need physically healthy and strong athletes to mobilize and intimidate population on Election Day, in order for voters to support the Georgian Dream. According to Piruz Tsulukidze, because he refused to help him with elections, Rizhvadze retaliated by arresting his brother. The information was confirmed by Rezo Tsulukidze’s brother, wrestler Piruz Tsulukidze in an interview with ISFED’s observer. Later Piruz Tsulukidze published bank account statements from March 19 and March 24, according to which wives of arrested Rezo Tsulukidze and Eldar Antadze received 2,000 laris each, in order to prove the informal agreement between Davit Rizhvadze and athletes. According to Netgazeti - Batumelebinewspaper, Ajara Government published letters of March 16 in which the wives of the two arrested persons requested social assistance. Both letters have been prepared the same day and the requested amount is 2000 laris each.