U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, said that the Georgian government has been urged for thorough investigation of the violent incident in Kortskheli and for bringing perpetrators to account.
“What happened [in Kortskheli] was completely unacceptable I think in a democratic society,” he told journalists on the sideline of world congress on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear counter-proliferation in Tbilisi on May 30.
He said that this kind of political violence “can only do damage” to electoral environment.
“We have been in contact with the government to urge them to have a thorough investigation and to bring those responsible for this unacceptable violence to account,” Ambassador Kelly said.
“But I think also going forward, as we get closer to the elections, I think that various political parties need to have more dialogue and come up with some form of consensus on a code of conduct to reject violence of any kind in an election period,” he added.
Several leaders of the opposition UNM party and its activists were beaten up by a group of GDDG ruling party supporters and members on May 22 in Zugdidi municipality’s village of Kortskheli during local by-election.
No one has either been arrested or charged, more than a week after the violence, filmed by several TV crews, and in which many of the perpetrators have been identified. Six of them were questioned by the police on May 24 without being charged. Their supporters and relatives were rallying outside the Interior Ministry while the six men were being questioned by the police, calling on the authorities not to arrest them.
Lawmakers from UNM party, which is the largest opposition group in the legislative body, walked out of the Parliament chamber on May 25, saying they will not be attending sessions unless all the perpetrators and masterminds of the violence in Kortskheli are held accountable.