Public Defender Demands Criminal Prosecution of Two Persons for Organizing Group Violence and Calling for Violence on July 5

Published in Justice
Monday, 06 September 2021 14:18

Two months have passed since the violent events of July 5, but the Georgian Prosecutor's Office has not launched criminal prosecution against any individual for organizing group violence. The Public Defender Nino Lomjaria examined the video footage[1] released by the media and considers that the publicly available evidence reaches the standard of probable cause for launching criminal proceedings against two persons for organizing group violence as well as for publicly calling for violence.

Pursuant to Article 21 (c) of the Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender of Georgia, the Public Defender is entitled to request the initiation of an investigation and/or criminal prosecution if the examination of the case shows elements of crime. Accordingly, the Public Defender has already used the authority granted by the organic law and applied to the Prosecutor's Office with a request to initiate criminal proceedings against Zurab Makharadze and Spiridon Tskipurishvili.

The proposal to launch prosecution was based on publicly released videos showing that before the July 5 violence, on Alt-Info TV, Zurab Makharadze and other individuals had been continuously announcing violence against participants in the event planned by Tbilisi Pride. Violent calls were also heard against journalists. The same individuals spread information on television about the formation of groups with the direct purpose of violence on July 5.

It is substantiated in the Public Defender’s proposal that Zurab Makharadze personally led the group violence on July 5, including the removal of protest tents in front of the legislative body and the allocation of various groups to raid the offices of the Shame Movement and Tbilisi Pride.

Finally, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Georgia, 53 persons were identified as victims of the group violence on July 5, 2021, and criminal proceedings were launched against 27 persons. However, no one has been prosecuted for organizing group violence.

In addition, the Public Defender made another proposal to the Prosecutor General's Office and demanded the launch of criminal proceedings against Spiridon Tskipurishvili for publicly calling for violent actions. It was established according to the standard of probable cause that on July 5, at about 14:14, the Archpriest of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Spiridon Tskipurishvili, by using a microphone and sound enhancer devices, called on citizens to be violent, thus went beyond the freedom of expression and committed an action forbidden by Article 2391 of the Criminal Code of Georgia – call for violence that creates an obvious, direct and substantial threat of violence.

The Public Defender continues to gather information about the investigation ongoing into the July 5 violence and, if necessary, will again use the authority given to her by the organic law.

Source: https://www.ombudsman.ge/eng/akhali-ambebi/sakhalkho-damtsveli-5-ivliss-jgufuri-dzaladobis-organizebisa-da-dzaladobisken-motsodebis-faktebze-2-piris-mimart-siskhlissamartlebrivi-devnis-datsqebas-moitkhovs

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    "I commend the Public Defender and her Office for their efforts to uphold the highest possible standards of protection of the human rights of all individuals over whom the Georgian authorities exercise jurisdiction.

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    Source: https://bit.ly/3xeG7ud

  • Public Defender Demands Mikheil Saakashvili’s Involvement in His Trial

    Restricting the 3rd President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, from participating in his own trial grossly violates the right to a fair trial enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia and the European Convention.

    Mikheil Saakashvili has not been allowed to appear before court three times since his arrest. In all three cases, the Special Penitentiary Service refused to bring Mikheil Saakashvili to court and the court endorsed the refusal without critical deliberation.

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    [1] Order No. 149 of the Minister of Corrections of Georgia on the Approval of the Rules for Escorting/Transferring Defendants/Convicts, 19.10.2015, Annex No. 1, Article 37

    [2] Order No. 149 of the Minister of Corrections of Georgia on the Approval of the Rules for Escorting/Transferring Defendants/Convicts, 19.10.2015, Annex No. 1, Article 4, suparagraph 4.

    [3] Part 1 of Article 315, part 3 of Article 12, subparagraph "c" of part 1 of Article 71 of the Criminal Code of Georgia and Article 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia.

    [4] Riepan v. Austria, 35115/97, paragraphs 28-29; Krestovsky v. Russia, 14040/03, paragraph. 29.

    [5] Krestovsky, 29-30; Luchaninova v. Ukraine, 16347/02, 56-57.

  • Public Defender Visits Mikheil Saakashvili in Medical Establishment No.18 of Penitentiary Service

    On November 8, 2021, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria visited third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who was transferred to Medical Establishment No. 18 of the Penitentiary Service, Public Defender reports.

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    On October 24, 2021, Public Defender’s representatives checked the readiness of Medical Facility No. 18 for the possible admission of the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. The inspection revealed that the situation in the facility, in terms of medical care, does not fully comply with the report or recommendations issued by a multifunctional group of doctors on October 23, 2021, and there are also some safety risks.

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    It should be noted that the Public Defender's detailed review of the lack of medical staff and medical services in Facility No. 18 is provided in the 2020 Report of the National Preventive Mechanism.[1]

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    In view of all of the above, as well as the report of the multifunctional group of doctors, we believe that the Ministry of Justice/Special Penitentiary Service should select an alternative medical facility, where it will be possible to provide full and adequate medical services and security for the third President of Georgia. 

    Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia

     

  • Public Defender’s Statement on Mikheil Saakashvili's Detention Conditions

    The Public Defender's Office has visited the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is placed in Penitentiary Establishment No. 12, several times. We have been observing in detail the state of his health and conditions in the penitentiary establishment. We have intensive communication with the administration of the penitentiary system, as well as medical personnel, regarding Saakashvili’s health condition, with the consent of the latter.

    It should be noted that no breaches have been reported so far in terms of provision of living conditions for the third President; adequate attention is paid to him by the medical staff of the penitentiary facility.

    At the same time, the Public Defender of Georgia would like to respond to the information spread by the Special Penitentiary Service about Mikheil Saakashvili's health condition (blood pressure, pulse, saturation, glucose) and other personal data (items purchased by him). While it is clear that there is a high public interest in the health condition of the third President of the country, the agency has an obligation to inform the public only within reasonable limits. Health-related information belongs to special category data and its disclosure in detail, without the permission of the person concerned, poses a risk of violation of the law on the one hand and may contribute to the prisoner’s distrust towards the penitentiary system on the other hand, including towards the medical personnel.

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    The Public Defender's Office will continue to monitor the rights situation of the third President of Georgia and will periodically provide information to the public.

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