Setting up of a parliamentary commission to probe into ‘jihad threat’ video will be premature at this stage as the Interior Ministry is investigating the case actively in cooperation with foreign partners, Georgian Dream lawmakers said on Tuesday after the UNM MPs called for parliamentary investigative commission.
UNM MP Giorgi Baramidze told the parliamentary bureau session on Tuesday that the video “might possibly was produced either in agreement with or commissioned by high ranking officials” and in order to secure impartial probe the parliament should establish an investigative commission.
GD MP Irakli Sesiashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee for defense and security, responded it was too early at this stage to launch a parliamentary probe; instead, he offered, to hold a closed hearing of the parliamentary committee for defense and security during which Interior Ministry officials would brief lawmakers about ongoing investigation.
Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, said that he spoke with Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday morning on the ongoing investigation into the ‘jihad threat’ video.
“Investigation is ongoing to identify who produced this video and for what purpose. The investigation is ongoing in close coordination with our foreign partners,” Usupashvili said.
“As the Minister said there is a progress in the investigation,” Usupashvili said and added that making details of the investigation public at this stage would not be helpful.
“Of course the Parliament is following closely this process and we will have regular contacts with the executive government over this issue as such cases should not be left unpunished no matter who did it and no matter for what purpose,” Usupashvili said.
The National Security Council will gather under President Saakashvili’s chairmanship on Tuesday evening to discuss the issue.
The video in question has turned into a new source of political wrangling and mutual accusations between the UNM and GD.
On June 10 President’s UNM parliamentary minority group accused the Interior Ministry of dragging out the investigation. UNM MP Givi Targamadze and some other UNM lawmakers alluded that head of the government’s PR department, Koka Kandiashvili, was possibly behind the video and called for setting up of a parliamentary investigation commission to carry out a separate, independent probe into the case. Kandiashvili responded that he would not even comment on this “delirium” by UNM lawmakers and by citing reports in Georgian tabloid press he pointed the finger at unspecified employee of the president’s administration, as well as at former head of Imedi TV and Saakashvili’s long-time ally Giorgi Arveladze, whom Kandiashvili referred to as a producer of fake news on war which was aired in March 2010 by Imedi TV, when it was ran by Arveladze.
PM Ivanishvili, who will not be attending the National Security Council’s session on Tuesday, said on June 11, that making such videos was more characteristic to UNM rather than to his team and mentioned in this context Imedi TV’s 2010 fake war news report.
Chief of President’s administration, Andro Barnovi, responded finding out source of the video was “matter of hours”, but instead of investigating, the government, including the PM, was “gossiping” over the issue.
Speaking at a parliamentary bureau session on June 11, the parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said: “We should be very principled in this respect, but at the same time we should contribute to finding out the truth rather than obstructing the process by making political statements or by pointing the figure at [each other] unless having a reason for that.”