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Police Say Identified Patriarch Mocking Video Producers
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Nov.'09 / 14:40

Interior Ministry said on November 1, that it had identified two persons, who produced and disseminated via internet “indecent and insulting” videos of Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that two persons – one school pupil and another one a student – were identified as a result of “a preliminary investigation” launched together with the Prosecutor’s Office.

“Video files and computers have already been seized” as evidence, it said.

The Ministry also said that it would not make other details of the case public at this stage. Similar statement was released by the prosecutor’s office. 

It was not immediately clear based on what “the preliminary investigation” into production and dissemination of mocking videos of the Patriarch was launched.

The videos were first posted on YouTube on October 13. On the same day the videos were shared on her Facebook page by Tea Tutberidze, one of key figures in an influential think-tank Liberty Institute.

The vide clips attracted attention of broader public, as well as of political groups only after the fragments from these videos were aired by Report of the Week program on the Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV on October 18. Given Liberty Institute’s close links to President Saakashvili’s administration, the TV report was alluding that “the campaign against the Patriarch” was orchestrated by some circles within the authorities.

After the videos attracted the broader public’s attention, the Orthodox groups, political parties, as well as the President’s Administration condemned them. At the same time, Tea Tutberidze started receiving numerous condemning and even threat messages in her Facebook inbox. In connection to those threat messages she appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office and the latter launched investigation. 

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