Disinformation: Nino Lomjaria is a member of the B4U club which actively fights for the legalisation of paedophilia.
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
On 5 June 2021, the pro-Russian News Front published an article under the following headline: “Nino Lomjaria is a B4U Club Member Which Actively Fights for the Legalisation of Paedophilia.” Later, Tvalsazrisi also reposted the same article. The information in the article is not true and seeks to discredit Ms Lomjaria for her involvement in the events unfolding around the Ninotsminda children’s boarding school.
The B4U club mentioned in the article is likely a reference to the B4U-ACT organisation. This NGO was founded in the USA in 2003 to help those individuals who have a sexual attraction to children. According the organisation’s website, they seek to provide different types of assistance, including psychological and mental counselling to such people. Of important note is that the fight for the legalisation of paedophilia is not among the organisation’s manifested objectives. According to AFP FACT CHECK, in order to prevent child sexual abuse, B4U-ACT uses the concept of minor-attracted persons instead of the word paedophile. Of note is that untrustworthy Russian sources have also named B4U-ACT within the context of seeking to normalise paedophilia.
FactCheck reached out to the Public Defender’s Office to verify the information. The Office denied links between Nino Lomjaria and the aforementioned organisation and stated that Georgia’s Public Defender does not hold membership in any such organisation or club. Therefore, claim that Ms Lomjaria has ties with B4U-ACT is fake news and intends to discredit the Public Defender.
News Front’s article also discusses links between Nino Lomjaria and Vadim Altman, a Ukrainian fighter. The article reads: “Of mention is the fact that on 13 August 2020, Georgia’s Public Defender addressed the Prosecutor General not to extradite Ukrainian national Vadim Altman to Russia… In fact, Altman was involved in trading organs of dead and injured Ukrainian fighters. The organs of Ukrainian fighters in the field hospitals were illegally removed and sold to foreign clinics. Altman has close ties with Olga Weber (transplant surgeon) and Sandra Roelofs. Both Weber and Roelofs are active members of this criminal scheme. The purpose of Altman’s visit to Georgia in 2020 is interesting and who provided for his visit amid the pandemic and lockdown.”
Ukrainian fighter Vadim Altman visited Georgia in 2020. In January 2020, after the Russian Federation addressed the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office to motion Altman’s extradition, he was detained and his extradition prison term was about to expire in September 2020. On 3 August 2020, Nino Lomjaria did indeed address the Prosecutor General of Georgia, Irakli Shotadze, with the request not to extradite the Ukrainian national to Russia. According to Ms Lomjaria, Vadim Altman fought for Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict and was a member of the Odessa District Organisation of All-Ukraine Union of War and Armed Forces Veterans and Disabled Persons as well as being involved in Ukrainian volunteer groups and playing an active role in logistical provisions for the Ukrainian army.
According to Nino Lomjaria’s information, the Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office received a request from the Russian Prosecutor General on 30 January 2020 vis-à-vis Vadim Altman’s extradition to Russia. According to the request, he was accused of the creation of a criminal organisation and drug trade. The Georgian Public Defender highlighted that there were numerous instances of inhumane treatment in the Russian penitentiary system against those who voiced pro-Ukrainian statements because of the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Therefore, Ms Lomjaria opined that there was reasonable ground to assume that Vadim Altman would be subject to torture or other forms of degrading treatment in the case of his extradition which contradicts the Constitution of Georgia and international commitments. Therefore, Ms Lomjaria was acting strictly within the scope of her professional duties.
At the same time, linking Sandra Roelofs with illegal schemes of human organ transplantation is completely baseless. Of note is that Ms Roelofs has been targeted with such unfounded allegations for years, although none of them was ever corroborated with evidence.
The information in the articles promoted by News Front and Tvalsazrisi aims to discredit Georgia’s Public Defender for her involvement in the events unfolding around the Ninotsminda children’s boarding school. Of note is that Ms Lomjaria has been stating for years that repeated monitoring at the St Nino children’s boarding school in Ninotsminda identified serious cases of violence against and punishment of the children. In addition, representatives of the Public Defender’s Office were asking for access to the facility for more than a year. A government-authorised social worker was also denied access to the boarding school from June 2020 to 14 May 2021. On 15 April 2021, a monitoring group from the Public Defender’s Office was again denied access to the boarding school. Afterwards on 7 May 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child obliged the government of Georgia to facilitate the monitoring of the Georgian Orthodox Church-governed Ninotsminda children’s boarding school in order to learn about the state of the children there. However, the Public Defender released a statement on 19 May 2021 saying that the representatives of the Public Defender’s Office were again disallowed from entering the boarding school. At the same time, Ms Lomjaria also stated on 2 June 2021 that there are four ongoing criminal investigations related to the boarding school in 2016-2021, including one case of rape and three cases of abuse. On 4 June 2021, Partnership for Human Rights (PHR) appealed to the court and requested the immediate removal of all children from the Ninotsminda boarding school as a security measure. On 5 June 2021, the court approved PHR’s motion and ruled that disabled individuals must leave the Ninotsminda boarding school. According to the Agency for State Care, the removal process of the disabled children from the Ninotsminda boarding has started based on the court’s ruling.
This article was produced as part of Facebook’s Fact-checking Programme. Given the rating, Facebook may impose different restrictions – click here for full information. For information on issuing a correction or to dispute a rating, please see here.