U.S. Embassy statement on the death of journalist Lekso Lashkarava

The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi extends our deepest condolences to the family of Lekso Lashkarava, particularly to Lekso’s mother, and to his colleagues at TV Pirveli and all those who are shocked and saddened by his death.

Lekso worked behind the camera so despite his years of service as a media professional, many might not have recognized him before he was viciously attacked by people who demonstrated a complete lack of respect for human life. His bravery as he defended his colleague and his commitment to the fundamental freedoms long cherished in this country represent the best qualities and traditions of the people of Georgia. The arrest of several individuals in connection with the attack on Lekso is a positive first step toward justice.

The safety of every Georgian journalist and the credibility of democracy in Georgia require that every individual who attacked peaceful citizens and journalists on July 5 and 6, or who incited violence, must be identified, arrested, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We call for calm and an end to the violence that has already caused one tragic loss of life.