HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA


THE INDEPENDENT SOCIETY "HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" Monthly bulletin # 22-23/2001

HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION CENTER – HUMAN RIGHTS LIBRARY


 

"No one shall be arbitrary interference with his privacy, family home correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. "

Article 12

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

IN TODAY'S ISSUE:

Armed attack on office of ,,Human Rights in Georgia"

On early Saturday morning, 11th of November 2000, around at 5 A.M. unidentified persons arranged an armed attack on Gori Regional Office (Eastern Georgia) of non-governmental organization - Independent Society "Human Rights in Georgia". Attackers, about 7 – 8 persons, cut the iron bars, attacked the watchman, cut an iron door, crashed an inside wooden door and devastated the office, they took everything: brand new(PENTIUM III) computers, printer, UPS, gasoline heater, telephone set and all the documentation.

It needs to be mentioned that organization began creation its regional offices since October resulting in opening of Zugdidi and Gori regional offices.

It is planned to establish three more regional offices in spring and create local centers of human rights. All this is met with hostility in the region.

Local authorities and certain people consider the fact as some threat to lawlessness, chaos and corruption in regions that they are frantically trying to secure as sources of their unlawful income. It is clear whether this was an ordinary criminal act or political act committed against Organization itself. Reluctance of police makes us believe, that it was not just a criminal act. In addition, the suspicion is reinforced, by fact that altogether with office equipment important documents were taken by assailants.

Independent Society "Human Rights in Georgia" expresses protest and considers the fact as political act directed against organization in order to neutralize the growing influence of third sector in Georgia working in Human Rights field. The organization deems responsible local authorities in happened and demands prompt investigation of accident as well as compensation for the damages.

We declare, however, that neither this fact alone, nor any other kind of obstruction will affect effectiveness of our activities in future and it will only make organization more sober and active in monitoring and protection of Human Rights in the country.

Italian Journalist murdered in Georgia

 

40 years old Antonio Russo, journalist of Italian radio ,,Radicalle" was murdered in Georgia. His body was found in Gardabani region. He had the card of journalist cliped on his pocket. He had no outward sings of violence but expertise showed that he was killed and the criminal case was launched.

General Prosecutors office supervises the case. Italian embassy was notified about the case. The embassy officials said, they did not know anything about Russo's presence in Georgia. Russo was not accredited in Georgia, but he frequently visited Pankisi Valley and contacted with Chechens. He collected information about conflict in Chechnya and sent it to Italy. Happened accident had big impact in victim‘s home. The secretary of the radical party Marino Bustikini, mother of Russo – Beatrtrise Russo; member of European Parliament – Olner Upus and others arrived to Tbilisi. Secretary of radical Party declared to journalists: "We know what's go on in Chechnya. Those people who are interested in keeping of the information vacuum abroad about conflict in Chechnya were interested also in killing of Russo. Russo was very important journalist for us".

Prosecutor General jamlet Babilashvili met with Italian guests and Ambassador, Michelangelo Pipan on the 19th of October. The meeting was closed. Experts, Investigators and representatives of Ministry of Interior and Security were also invited.

 

There participation was demanded by Italians. According to Orde Bebia, Head of Investigation Division "It is possible to invite Italian specialists to Georgia or send our investigators to Italy. All means necessary will be considered to find out why Russo was murdered." Possible details about investigations are kept in secret because of necessary precautions.

When the Government Kills

 

On the 28th of October, on freedom square in front of Tbilisi Mayor's office the 10th anniversary of first multiparty elections was held. During the seizure of the meeting tens of people were injured. 18 came to hospital №9 and one, Makvala Abashvili came to hospital №1. When she was brought to hospital, Abashvili was in coma. As head of the Georgian association of human rights Giorgi Kervalishvili declared, Abashvili later died from injuries. This information was Confirmed by doctor Maka Kutalia. According to her on the 7th of November patient died and never come out of coma. It has to be mentioned that Abashvili is the second victim of attacks on nonviolent peaceful meetings. Last year ex-Minister of Energy Nugzar Lezhava was also killed. It is time for foreign governments and international human rights organizations to rise their voices against grave violations of basic human rights and freedoms by Georgian authorities.

Staff member of Republican Prison Hospital was tortured with electric shock

 

After the escape the staff member of Republican Prison Hospital was tortured with electric shock; he was ordered to name people who helped the escaped. He informed about it Elene Tevdoradze, Head of Parliament Committee on Human Rights. Danelia declared that he doesn't know what names he had to mention and what they want from him.

Tevdoradze pointed out that she noticed specific black spots on the palms of Danelia's hands. Danelia is in unbearable conditions, he has heart troubles and no medical assistance. fact of his detention contradicts the law on, "imprisonment" because of his health conditions. Tevdoradze addressed Mr. Eldar Topchiev, Deputy Head of Investigation Department of General Prosecutor's Office. Topchiev declared that he would send experts on the 12th of October to examine the victim in presence of lawyer.

 

All old staff members of Republican Prison Hospital will be dismissed

 

Head of the Penitentiary Department Zurab Makhviladze plans to dismiss all old staff members of Republican Prison Hospital. According to him, after escape, not only high rank staff members should be dismissed, but also all doctors and nurses. The vacancies will be filled on a competitive basis.

Naulis Kobulia Imprisoned without proper grounds

 

Lali Aptsiauri, President of "commonwealth of Prisoners" declared, that Head of Republican Prison Hospital Naulis Kobulia didn't have to be arrested, because he is 66 years old and, according to Georgian criminal procedure person over 60 should not be a subject to pre-detention procedure. Kobulia was arrested after the escape and he is accused in abuse of position. According to Aptsiauri Kobulia was a hope for prisoners and he rescued many of them. That's why prisoners are very concerned.

The health condition of Naulis Kobulia, ex-head of Republican Prison Hospital is so bad that it became necessary to call the ambulance. According to his lawyer Shalva Shavgulidze, he suffers from heart troubles everyday.

Prosecutor's Office demands to lift immunity from Member of Parliament Pridon Injia

 

General Prosecutor's office is going to address the parliament of Georgia to lift immunity from Pridon Injia, - Member of Parliament from Martvili region. According to Nodar Shavkulashvili, special investigator of General Prosecutor's Office, the address will be forwarded to Parliament after Central Election Commission declares final results of election. Injia accused in abuse of power, misappropriation of budget funds, unlawful privatization of building on Rustaveli 12 and perpetration of unrest in Martvili.

 

Disastrous situation in the field of Human Rights Protection

In July 2000 the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles visited Georgia. He had meeting with George Kervalishvili, head of Georgian Human Rights Protection Association. Kervalishvili handed to Mr. Robles the documents of human rights violations in Georgia . Currently Mr. Robles delivered a speech on Human Rights Protection in Georgia in European parliamentary Assembly where he declared that situation is disastrous. He called to European Committee to expel Georgia from organization because of non-fulfillment of a single obligation. (Information provided by George Kervalishvili)

 

Expert was not allowed to see the victim of police abuse

 

Lawyers appealed the decision of Krtsanisi – Mtatsminda court on the arrest of 11 staff members of Republican Prison Hospital. Before the process begins the issue of main concern is the protection of prisoners rights. Right from the moment of their arrest they were severely beaten. The information was proved in court. The traces were vivid, some of them couldn't even stand. As it appears, the end justifies the means for law enforcement bodies of Georgia; moreover, in spite of address of Elene Tevdoradze, the expert Maia Nikoleishvivi was not admitted to prisoners.

Nugzar Bochorishvili blames Russian law enforcement bodies

 

Detained Nugzar Bocholishvili blames Russian law enforcement bodies in physical abuse. An independent expert Maia Nikoleishvili after thoroughly done expertise found out the following: there are injuries on spine and chest caused by flat, hard object. Nugzar Bochorishvili was arrested in August for illegal possession of firearms. Nearly for a month Maia Nikoleishvili Couldn't get permission for expertise and only after Russians arrival she's finally got it.

Strike is still under way

 

Health conditions of imprisoned Soso Sanaia and Zurab Gvazava are much worse. According to their lawyer Sevdia Ugrekhelidze, they are on a hungry strike for more than a week and take only water and went faint several times. However doctor has visited them only twice so far and their health is not under routine monitoring that requires everyday treatment. Detained declare that they were unlawfully imprisoned and met wrong charges. They addressed Prosecutor General Mr. Jamlet Babilashvili and secretary of national security Council Nugzar Sadjaia with the demand to meet them. They also demand the assistance of Eka Beselia, the lawyer of Eliava and Gvilava.

Law enforcement bodies complain

 

Information and Coordination Center of Political Prisoners declares, that Georgian government violated declared process of national reconciliation and rather applies methods of police regime. According to their information by the 10th of October Police have visited number of people in their homes: Rusudan Pataraia, Guliko Kiladze, Lasha Gvasalia, Shalva Chilindrishvili, Bidzina Dangadze, Nana Dochviri, Mamuka Aptsiauri, Khvicha Jokhadze and so on.

They tried to conduct a search without proper warrant. Some of them were detained to police stations without proper grounds, were interrogated and threatened. By forcing extract confessions Police officers were trying to tie them somehow to the fact of well-known escape from prison hospital.

Only Danelia appeals

 

On 12th of October Representative of Public Defender Ramaz Ninua met with David Danelia, ex staff member of Prison Hospital. Danelia demonstrated his injures and declared that he was severely beaten and tortured with electric shock. He hasn't mentioned this fact earlier because of fear of his further torture. Ninua admitted that he noticed ,,dark smoky spots" on his hands. Ninua met with 9 other detainees as well but none of them reported about torture.

 

IDPs demand their allowance

 

Beginning from October protest IDP population of village Jvari, Tsalenjikha region demand meeting with authorities and payoff of their monthly allowancesthat they are entitled to. Situation is similar in Zugdidi region. According to the head of the financial Division of Government of Abkhazia, the competence of distribution of allowances to IDPs lies upon the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodations, but the question is if it received the money from the Ministry of Finance. According to him, the legitimate Government of Abkhazia tries to address the issue.

 

Immunity Preserved to Injia

 

On the 12th of October the session of Central Election Commission was held on Pridon Injia who has won the Elections in Martvili region. General Prosecutor's office demanded to lift the immunity from Injia and declare illegitimate his victory. Great majority members of commission have deemed the arguments presented by Prosecutor's office as insufficient that lack appropriate evidences.

According to them, the address from the Prosecutor's office had to be brought to the attention of the authorities public and the public before the elections were held. Commission assessed the act of Prosecutor's office as a step of political character directed towards creation of political instability in the region. After voting representatives of Prosecutor's office left the session with no comments. Now the final word belongs to Parliament.

 

Tevdoradze is deemed to be an enemy

 

According to Elene Tevdoradze, head of Parliament committee on Human Rights, authorities try to imprison her and blame in several crimes. After the escape from Prison Hospital the process became more intensive. Orde Bebia, Representative of General Prosecutor's Office, accused Tevdoradze, that she was informed about the escape and she kept silence about it.

As Tevdoradze said, she was amazed by such accusations. She said that she awaits for arrest for 5 years so far and believes that it will eventually happen because she is straightforward in many aspects of her criticism of the authorities. In January 2001 representatives of the CVouncil of Europe will have the hearing on Human Rights Protection issues in Georgia. Just this year several expert groups have visited Georgia. The group Presented by Mr. ill–Robles left country extremely so dissatisfied and disappointed by gathered human rights information.

One more escaped prisoner is caught

 

33 years old Mamuka Jangveladze was arrested in Ambrolauri region on 16th of October. He was imprisoned for 13 years in 1998 and escaped from Prison Hospital. Between 9 – 13 October 4 escaped were cut in Racha region. Among them were Guram Absandze - ex Minister of Finance and Loti Kobalia, ex – Head of National Guard. 36 years old Khvicha Manchkhava was also arrested, others are still wanted by Georgian authorities.

 

Fugitives from Prison Hospital planned unrest

According to President Shevardnadze after the escape it was planned by fugitives to create a large scale of unrest in the country. According to him, the prisoner by nickname ,,Shakhtior" was arrested. Out of 12 escaped, 6 others were already re-detained.

 

Fugitives against each other

One of the leaders of ,,Mkhedrioni" Dodo Gugeshashvili said that out of 12 escaped from Prison hospital several were informers – "be it otherwise, it would be very difficult for police to arrest them" – according to her prisoners escaped wouldn't set fire to attract attention.

 

Absandze is detained

 

On the 20th of October ex-director of Republican Prison Hospital Naulis Kobalia and ex-Minister of Finance Guram Absandze were taken to Tbilisi Appeals Court. Their cases were considered separately. Closed session lasted several hours. Lawyers demanded their release. Prosecutors emphasized that their release would make investigation difficult. Judge Iury Gabisonia declined the demand of lawyers. Absandze was detained for three months. Absandze addressed the audience: ,"I dug the tunnel, because I am imprisoned unlawfully". Kobalia and Absandze were forwarded back to Isolator number 5.

 

Prisoners left under open skies

 

Since transfer of penitentiary to the Ministry of Justice the problems have only increased. On the 2-nd of October prisoners escaped and on October 20th building of Avchala Colony №1 was set on fire.

At About 6 a.m. staff members of the colony noticed the smoke. They awoke the prisoners and guided them for evacuation from the building. Fire used to spread fairly quickly. Firemen were called but in spite of their desperate work 300 prisoners were left without a roof.

Protest of Public Defender

 

On the 13th of October the representative of Public Defender Regina Teloian was physically abused at the entrance of her house. Criminal case has been brought in order to investigate this accident. Public Defender hopes, that police will properly co-operate in the process of investigation to find out the reasons why such an accident had to take a place.

Verdict forwarded to Prosecutor's Office

 

Investigation Division of the Ministry of State Security had completed the verdict on unsuccessful terrorist act against the Head of State Eduard Shevardnadze. The verdict is transferred to the General Prosecutor's Office. According to MSS 13 people are involved in case. Among them is ex-general of the ministry of Defense Gujar Khurashvili. He is accused in collaboration with former Security Chief Giorgadze who is wanted by Georgian authorities.

The rights of casino owners are violated

 

Since casino "Victoria" robbery case high rank officials speak about shutting down some of the casinos. About 18 casinos might face the threat of closure. Talking about the figures, more than million goes to the income of state budget from gambling and each table amounts 2000 Lari. The question of banning is rather vague and strange but there are doubts, those high rank officials might be involved. Society demands from the legislative power to address the issue promptly and properly.

Pridon Injia still wanted by Interpol

 

According to Gela Machavariani, head of Interpol General Burrow's operative service, in spite of his victory in Parliamentary Elections in Martvili region, Pridon Injia is still wanted, because they did not receive official notification from Prosecutor General's Office. Injia is wanted in 177 countries by Interpol on red circular.

Ex-Minister of post and communications Pridon Injia planned to return to Georgia, but after his lawyer's advise Injia changed his mind.

According to Shavgulidze, the lawyer, he advised Injia to monitor the development of events and act accordingly or he could be arrested. Prosecutor's Office had no right to address Parliament to lift immunity from Injia, because Parliament has not recognized him as Member of Parliament yet.

Kakubava demands to set up a commission to investigate charges against him

 

Member of Parliament, accused in perpetration terrorist act against President Shevardnadze in 1999 and misappropriation of budget funds is now wanted. Boris Kakubava addressed President and Parliament to set up a commission in order to investigate charges against him.

 

Life of a lawyer under threat in Court

 

According to lawyer David Berdzenishvuli, on the 28th of October in Sagarejo court, Judge Mikheil Gorgiladze should consider the case of two - accused ex officers of Transport police David Maisuradze and Nukri Mamisashvili. According to lawyer, the Judge dragged the case in purpose, and did not communicate with him as well as with prosecutor and others. In spite of the fact, that new criminal procedure prohibits meetings of judge with parties separately, the Judge met privately with prosecutor Vazha Vardiashvili and investigator Urushadze. The lawyer tried to seize the unlawful act and call for order, but the reaction was very harsh: ,,the prosecutor pointed gun at me, but luckily investigator Urushadze did not let him to shoot" – declared the lawyer.

 

Commentary of the Council of Europe

On the 7th of November the representative of European Council committee on supervision of fulfillment of obligations of member-countries of parliamentary assembly made declaration concerning Georgian mass media. The main objective of their visit in Georgia is the monitoring of human rights protection and freedom of expression. Representatives of the Council of Europe consider it necessary to pass the law on electric mass media to regulate relations between mass-media and state. After the law is passed State radio and TV. will become public.

Multivitamins for Juvenile Prisoners

 

Ministry of Justice delivered multi vitamins to Juvenile colony and 5th isolator. LTD ,,Homan Larrosh" from Switzerland provided the Ministry headed by Irakli Lomsadze with multivitamins . Total 240 units of multivitamins were donated to the Ministry.

Head of the penitentiary department is going to control the lists of pardoned prisoners personally

 

Head of the penitentiary department Zurab Mskviladze declared that he will personally control the lists of pardoned prisoners, because in some instances the objectivity is not met. Parents of such prisoners can directly contact head of the department who won't create problems for them.

 

Head of partisans released

 

Head of partisan organization "Brothers of Forest" David Shengelia was released from pre – detention for health reasons. He was arrested two months ago on charges of physical abuse of Zugdidi market director. According to Penitentiary Department, Shengelia's state of health is rather dangerous he suffers from hepatitis and lung tuberculosis.

 

Prosecutor's Office appealed the release of accused in children trade

 

On the 9th of November 2000 Tbilisi Court considered the case of Canadian citizen Olga Gorelick. She is accused of selling abroad a child born in Georgia.

Vake-Saburtalo court has previously changed the detention sanction because of lack of evidence and later it's decision was appealed by Tbilisi Prosecutor's Office.

357 women were victims of ,,trafficking"

 

According to information provided by ,,Center of Protection of migrants and citizens" approximately 357 women were victims of ,,trafficking" for last 4 years. They who managed to return conceal the fact. Only Manana Menteshashvili came to center and declared that she, and 6 other women aged between 18-26, were transported abroad by tourist agency ,,Georgia Express Light". They were transported to Canada first and then illegally to U.S.A. They appeared in nightclub of Miami. They were deprived of all documents and pushed to prostitution. According to Nugzar Sulashvili, head of the "Center of Protection of migrants and citizens", about 18 cases of same character were reported to the Center last month. According to international experts, some high rank officials contribute to the development of this illegal business. Many tourist firms are under the umbrella of their protection. The fact itself makes difficult fighting with such a disease as trafficking.

 

MEMBER ORGANIZATION OF THE CAUCASUS HUMAN RIGHTS DIRCTORATE –

THE CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

The Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights (CPCR), a new non-governmental organization founded in August 1997.

Our Strategy

CPCR's goals fall into three general areas: the vindication of human rights, especially those of vulnerable parts of the population; the development of a legal culture and legal institutions that will protect human rights in Georgia and the education of the legal profession and the population at large about human and constitutional rights in Georgia.

CPCR functions as a center out of which the small number of Georgian attorneys currently interested in human rights can bring claims in the courts on behalf of CPCR's clients. By bringing human rights cases in the Georgian courts, we hope not only to improve access to the legal system, but to promote the development the country's new legal institutions. Educating the public about the kinds of remedies that the legal system can and cannot provide is another one of our priorities.

While CPCR is a new organization, the people involved in it have extensive experience in both the field of human rights and in the Georgian NGO community.

Some of our long-term priorities include:

CPCR'S VISION:

CPCR's goals are:

FUNDING

To achieve these goals, we have undertaken an various projects funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), American Bar Association (ABA), European Union (TACIS Democracy Programme), United Nations High Commissioner for Refuges (UNHCR)

Address: 29 Marjanishvili st, Tbilisi, 380002 Georgia;

Tel/Fax: (995 32) 951 635

E-mail: cpcr@access.sanet.ge

Contact person: Marina Lebanidze, Executive Director


"HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA"# 22-23,  2000
This is monthly bulletin "Human Rights in Georgia"

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Editorial Board: Ucha Nanuashvili, George Jugheli, George Garsevanishvili, George Djaniashvili, David Kipiani, Vladimir Imnaishvili

Contact information: The Independent Society "Human Rights in Georgia"
Human Rights Information and Documentation Center

Office address: 3-rd floor, 5, Mardjanishvili street, Tbilisi, 380002, Georgia.

Tel: (995 32) 95-48-35; (995 77) 45 96 26; (995 99) 50 80 36; Fax: (995 32) 95 48 35.
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