|Public Defender Attacks CEC Chair|
|April 15, 2008|
April 15, 2008
“Levan Tarkhnishvili is demanding that we and the entire society turn a blind eye and not see what CCTV cameras recorded. His demagoguery and incomprehensible statements that evidence obtained and presented publicly by the Public Defender are lies is aimed at this very purpose,” Subari said in a written statement.
On April 4 the Public Defender said that his office had studied footage from CCTV cameras at some polling stations, which revealed that voter turnout at eight polling stations had been inflated by 5,475 in total. Multiple voting, including by precinct commission members, had also been observed, according to the Public Defender. Footage from only twelve polling stations was handed over to the Public Defender’s Office.
“Representatives of the Public Defender’s Office were not allowed to copy footage from other polling stations under his [CEC chair Tarkhnishvili's] personal instructions,” Subari said. “Suspicion about ballot-rigging, which has emerged as a result of studying the footage from eleven polling stations [the CCTV camera failed to record at one of the twelve polling station], is only strengthened with this kind of action by the CEC.”
“It is unclear why watching the footage from other polling stations has been blocked if everything is OK there. What is the purpose of installing CCTV cameras if no one is able to watch the footage? When those people [in the CEC] do not want us to see what the CCTV cameras have recorded, they can not command confidence… It is undisputed that violations happened, because it can be seen clearly that the same person cast two ballots. It will take only five minutes to watch that and it can be aired by the television stations.”
On April 4 when Subari unveiled his findings Rustavi 2 and Mze TV stations did not cover the story in their primetime news bulletins. The Georgian Public Broadcaster gave the story two minutes in the middle of its primetime news program on April 4. On April 13 a new program, Shvidi Dge (Seven Days) produced by former Imedi journalists covered the story extensively, showing some CCTV footage. One precinct commission member seen casting ballots several times was appointed by the opposition and another one was from the ruling party.
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