After series of false bomb threats, targeting television stations, parliament, airport and other facilities, lawmakers have unanimously passed amendments to the criminal code, making it possible to impose more severe punishment for filing a false report of terrorism.
The amendment, passed with its first reading on September 18, makes this offense “grave crime”, increasing maximum possible prison term for the offense from current three to five years. Fine and community work will remain as possible punishments as well.
According to the Interior Ministry at least fifteen false bomb scares have been made since September 12; many of these false reports, made via 112 emergency call center, were targeting television stations – Rustavi 2 TV, Imedi TV, Maestro TV for multiple times, as well as Tbilisi airport, the Parliament building in Kutaisi, two banks, public school. According to the police, in many of these cases false bomb scares were made by juveniles (minimal age of criminal responsibility is 14 in Georgia). In all these cases targeted facilities were evacuated and inspected by law enforcement officers.
Unusually large number of false bomb scares, prompted speculation among some Georgian Dream lawmakers that it could have been coordinated by certain, unspecified forces; they called on the Interior Ministry to thoroughly investigate these cases to find out if there was any link between these separate false bomb scares.
The legislative amendment, which has to be passed with its second and third readings, was drafted after the Interior Ministry called for tightening punishment for making false bomb scare.