arno-bass2Your Excellency,

After the team of the SAKINFORM News and Analytical Agency congratulated Vladimir Putin with his victory in Russia’s presidential elections on March 5 2012 (please find the URL enclosed as Enclosure 1 to this letter) we started to receive obscene comments and threats of physical violence at our website at www.saqinform.ge (the comments have been stored, sender IPs recorded and can be made available if necessary).

Also, I immediately started to receive SMS to my cell phone as well as calls from one and the same person, with unquotable personal insults and threats of physical violence to myself and my family members (I have stored the SMS texts, and I’m including telephone numbers, five in total, as Enclosure 2 to this letter).

As the caller threatened to come to my office and to deal with me shortly, I, Arno Khidirbegishvili, Sakinform Editor-in-Chief, called the police patrol to prevent provocations. The police arrived immediately and recorded the fact in their protocol, without showing it to me, though.

When the police were filling in the protocol, the caller broke into the Sakinform office and repeated the unprintable insults and threats of physical violence to me several times in the presence of the two policemen and several agency staff members. The perpetrator named himself (see Enclosure 3) and said he was an expert of the Expert Club, though the Expert Club did not confirm the information. After multiple telephone consultations with their higher-ups that lasted up to an hour and a half, the police did not even detain the perpetrator and let him go, limiting themselves only to a verbal warning and a promise ‘to take strict measures if repeated’.

Since the perpetrator’s actions pertained to my professional activity as a journalist, on the same day I filed an application with the public prosecutor’s office with a request to start an investigation and to initiate proceedings under article 154, part 2 of the Georgian Penal Code (see Enclosure 4).

After that, in a lengthy text posted on his LiveJournal and Facebook pages the perpetrator openly and repeatedly wrote he was sorry that the patrol prevented his from physically assaulting me, and promised to do it in the nearest future together with his confederates (see URL to his page in LiveJournal with texts and comments containing threats of physical assault in Enclosure 5).

Your Excellency, following the URL included in Enclosure 5 to the perpetrator’s LiveJournal page, could you please pay a particular attention to some phrases: «…it is time we would use elements of McCarthyism in Georgia»; «…to set up a fund and receive contributions to pay fines for everyone who wants to prove the hardness of their feelings and fists to you»; «I propose to establish a fund and to ….. (we skip an unquotable word here – SAKINFORM) all these Kukavas and Arnos mercilessly!» as well as other sentences that contain calls to physical assault and insults not only to the SAKINFORM editor-in-chief but also to the popular Georgian newspaper Asaval-Dasavali, director of the Eurasia Institute Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, leader of the Free Georgia Party Kakha Kukava, leader of the Labor Party of Georgia Shalva Natelashvili, leader of the Democratic Movement Nino Burjanadze, and others. Also please mind his ‘friends’ whose email addresses are stored in his Personal Info on LiveJournal – many of the emails are those of the staff members and leaders of the Russian-speaking PIK TV channel, but I think some would be of great interest to the US Embassy to Georgia and the US intelligence services.

Your Excellency, Mr. Ambassador! As you could see, a specific group of people consider me an enemy of Georgia and intend to deal with me shortly because the team of the SAKINFORM News Agency that I manage, similarly to heads of many world countries, congratulated Vladimir Putin as well as expressed wishes and hopes for restoration of the Russian-Georgian relations in the time of his presidency. Wouldn’t you thing that real enemies of Georgia and its today’s authorities are those who insult and assault media leaders with threats of physical violence, call for revival of McCarthyism in Georgia, call for physical violence against journalists, public leaders, leaders of opposition parties whose position differs from the official one?! Because in time when Georgia is passing a test for accession to NATO, their unlawful actions (that they not only admit but even boast of publicly!) are a direct attempt at the freedom of speech and human rights in Georgia, an attempt at the freedom of mass media, which could seriously affect Georgia’s image in the eyes of the global community and of Georgia’s strategic ally - the United States that repeatedly stressed the priority of democratic reforms in the country, incompatible with such unlawful actions!

Your Excellency, what if it is not at all about the congratulations to Putin but rather a well-planned provocation?! On the same day SAKINFORM published a classified message of the US Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft №1353 of August 10 2008 posted at WikiLeaks (see URL in Enclosure 6), that in particular reads as follows: “The Government (of Georgia – SAKINFORM) is actively cooperating with foreign journalists, creating the image of Russia as an aggressor and invader among the global community and presenting the information to their own advantage … Georgian authorities also use popular Russian bloggers opposing the Kremlin to cover the situation in the conflict zone”.

In this context it is notable that all the insulting and threatening texts addressed to SAKINFORM and Arno Khidirbegishvili are written in Russian as members of the group obviously do not know the official, Georgian language! Couldn’t they be the very group that the www.myspace.com writes about with scandalous references to the Russian-speaking PIK TV and its key persons?!  Mr. Ambassador, if you followed the link to  http://www.myspace.com/576763901/blog you would see a group photo of the internet subversives, and among them THE ONE WHO BROKE IN THE SAKINFORM’S OFFICE WITH THE THREATS AND INSULTS ON MARCH 5 2012 (in LiveJournal his nickname is mentioned under the photo together with the nicknames of other members of the group).

In his Personal Info on the Facebook you would read that he is an editor of the PIK TB Channel (www.pik.tv) and PR-manager of the ExpertClub.Gе.

He could also be a favorite of the notorious Oleg-Sandro Panfilov who writes nasty things about me in social networks and who I have recently denounced in my publication «PORN FEEL OFF».

Your Excellency! In consideration from the above, I would appreciate if you could express your position on this fact and would supervise further steps by the public prosecutor's office in order to finally clarify whose instructions the provoker was performing and to have them altogether punished strictly in compliance with the Georgian law.


Arno Khidirbegishvili

SAKINFORM Editor-in-Cheif

(Published without enclosures)