Lasha Darsalia accused of Blackmail

Georgian deputy minister of reconciliation Lasha Darsalia, has been accused by journalist Tamar Mearakishvili of threatening and blackmailing her. Mearakishvili, who is being prosecuted for slander and forgery by South Ossetian de facto authorities, has been seeking international help, due to the fact that she feels the Georgian government is failing to help her.

Mearakishvili, who lives in South Ossetia, says since the local de facto authorities took her documents, her freedom of movement has been substantially restricted. The local law enforcement has launched several investigations against her and she may be facing detention. She feels that the Georgian government could draw more international attention to her case.

On 6 July, Mearakishvili stated on Facebook that it was her fifth day of a holding a hunger strike and that the Georgian officials has not reached out to her yet. She told the media that Darsalia blackmailed and threatened her for openly criticizing the minister. Eventually she ceased her hunger strike, stating that the point of it was to draw international attention.

Mearakishvili was arrested by the de facto authorities in South Ossetia on 16 July 2017 but released shortly after. She is currently facing two charges in a South Ossetian court. Slander in August 2017 and Forgery in March 2018

“February, Lasha Darsalia called me, probably on your orders, and for about an hour he was ordering me around and blackmailing me to stop making critical comments about you, I haven’t heard a single word of comfort or support” - Mearakishvili wrote addressing Minister for Reconciliation Ketevan Tsikhelashvili.

Darsalia said he will be looking into it as there must have been some kind of misunderstanding. He said the ministry has full respect and solidarity with her case and is doing everything to relieve the pressure on her.

 “We are using all legitimate options available to help her. First of all, this means we are talking about her with all of our partners in different formats. For instance, we talked with the Geneva International Discussions chairs on 20 June. The minister spoke with them and one of the important issues they discussed was Mearakishvili’s case in light of human rights issues’, said Darsalia.

However, according to the OSCE website, there were no Geneva talks held in June 2018, only in June 2017

Darsalia told media that Mearakishvili’s case will be discussed during the next IPRM meeting, which took place in Ergneti on July 10.

“In terms of human rights, the situation is pretty tense in South Ossetia and we are handling this case responsibly, and with solidarity. It’s unfortunate if she feels like we haven’t done anything” - stated Darsalia.

By Shawn Wayne

88th IPRM Meeting Takes Place in Ergneti


11 July 2018 12:27