On 9 August 2019, Tbilisi City Court rendered a court ruling regarding the application filed by Papuna Ugrekhelidze against Eka Meskhidze.
Papuna Ugrekhelidze requested the denial of allegations tarnishing his honor, dignity and business reputation. In particular, the claim concerned the statements made by Eka Meskhidze on various television channels, where she spoke about the cases of her sexual harassment, among them, the victim described the harassment committed against her as [psychological] violence.
Tbilisi City Court partially upheld the claim and ordered the victim to deny some of the allegations made by her in the interviews. The information disseminated by the victim contained her opinions and assessments, which are protected by the privilege of absolute rights under current law. As to the facts, the evidence attached to the case confirms the accuracy of the information disseminated by Eka Meskhidze. However, the Court ordered the victim to deny her allegations. GYLA considers that today's court ruling is unreasonable and poses a danger that victims may refuse to speak publicly about sexual harassment and psychological violence in the future. GYLA will challenge today's ruling in the Court of Appeals and continue to protect the victim's interests.
It is noteworthy that the Court did not examine whether Papuna Ugrekhelidze carried out sexual harassment or not. However, the above has been established by the Public Defender, which is not subject to appeal. In particular, harassment and discrimination based on sex expressed in sexual harassment were established by the Public Defender on 03 May 2017. According to the report of the Public Defender, Papuna Ugrekhelidze applied unceremonious terminology, threatening SMS texts, etc. Therefore, the Public Defender, based on the evidence submitted by the applicant, information obtained through the interviews with witnesses and the defendant, considered that Papuna Ugrekhelidze on the one hand, carried out gender harassment through insulting and providing demeaning work environment for the victim, and on the other hand, in the form of verbal sexual harassment.