Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rezonansi editor claims assault and fraud in Kakheti

The deputy editor of local newspaper Rezonansi, Eliso Chapidze, says she was assaulted by government officers while documenting egregious vote fraud in a Kakheti precinct.

She is reputedly pro-opposition but honest. We spoke to her on the phone:

Chapidze is in the village of Magaro, in Sighnaghi district, birthplace of the Republican party leader. The ruling National Movement sent out an order that this precinct must be won, she says.

She alleges election officials were bought off by ruling party members. Several men, in plainclothes but apparently from the Interior Ministry, came in the morning. She approached them and asked for ID.

The men took and smashed her camera, then slapped her in the face. She asked the police to intervene; they did nothing. Locals tried to help her. She is still in the polling station, as are the men who assaulted her. They are in a backroom, "controlling" everything in the precinct.

People go into the booth, she says, then come out and show their ballots to prove they voted National Movement. Even the observers were bought off by the ruling party, Chapidze alleges.


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