A TV news cameraman died in the country of Georgia after he was brutally attacked by a far-right mob protesting an LGBTQ Pride march, his employer says.
Alexander Lashkarav, 37, who worked for the independent station TV Pirveli, was found dead in his bed early Sunday after his violent beatdown in the former Soviet Republic’s capital city of Tbilisi last week, the Guardian reported.
The cameraman was among more than 50 journalists who were targeted July 5 by violent hate groups protesting the upcoming Pride march before it was canceled due to safety concerns, the outlet reported.
Lashkarav suffered fractures to his facial bones, though it is unclear what caused his death, the outlet reported.
Georgia’s interior ministry said an investigation has been launched into his death.
President Salome Zourabichvili said Sunday that she had visited Lashkarava’s family.
“What happened is a tragedy, and I send my condolences to the entire media community and to all of Georgia,” she wrote on Twitter. “It must be investigated, and those responsible must be punished.”
Critics have accused Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili of emboldening the hate groups by saying before the event was canceled that holding it was “not reasonable” due to security concerns.
Nodar Meladze, TV Pirveli’s news editor, accused the government of being behind violent attacks against journalists.
“The government not only encourages violence against journalists, it is part of the violence,” Meladze said, the outlet reported.
“The government has set up violent groups to attack independent media,” he said, adding: “Riot police have also repeatedly targeted journalists.”