HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA


THE INDEPENDENT SOCIETY "HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" Monthly bulletin # 24-25/2001

HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION CENTER – HUMAN RIGHTS LIBRARY


"(1)Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country"

Article 13 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights


 

IN TODAY'S ISSUE:

 

 

 

Another Victim of Police

 

On the 7th of November Maia Abashvili died in1 Hospital of Tbilisi. She was severally beaten on meeting of Ex-president Gamsakhurdia supporters on the 28th of October. She died after 10 days from happened.

Independent Society "Human Rights in Georgia" condemns the fact and puts all responsibility on Georgian government who is unable to keep the Rule of Law in the country and punish violators. Organization condemns brutal murder of old woman. Until such practices continue in Georgian Law-enforcement bodies, the government far cry from long-ago declared fake mottos of democracy. We see no alterations of old, former soviet methods in operation of Georgian Police.

 

Embassy of Germany in Georgia violates human rights

 

Independent society "Human Rights in Georgia" disseminated information about human right violations in Embassies and Consulates in Georgia. In fact, on October 26, Consul of Germany failed to issue visa according to the regulations, allowing transit passage through Germany to the staff member of organization "Human Rights in Georgia". Organization was invited to attend important conference in Portugal. Our organization condemns such facts, ongoing on regular basis in some of foreign consulates and urges applicable governments to improve service and monitoring of consular representatives in the country. Excuses are being made by German consulate by blaming staff insufficiency which is existing problem in some other countries' consulate offices as well.

 

Facts of religious intolerance in Georgia

Independent Society ,,Human Rights in Georgia" disseminated address where it expressed serious concern about current facts of religious intolerance in Georgia. Among particular facts were mentioned attacks against the religious group - The Jehovah's Witnesses in Zugdidi, Marneuli and Tbilisi; Persecution of members of Krishna movement in Tbilisi and Baptist church in Tianeti. Organization is against such facts and declares that according to its information Ministries of Interior and Security are aware of all this but do nothing to address facts of violation of religious freedoms in the country.

 

 

Lawyer of Gorelik adresed public defender

Levan Alapishvili, the lawyer of Russian and Canadian national Olga Gorelik addressed Public Defender. Lawyer claims that Gorelik is under supervision at home and out. She was extremely concerned with TV program where she is accused in kidnapping which is disrespect towards the presumption of innocence. Lawyer addressed public defender Nana Devdariani to react.

Gorelik is accused in child trafficking overseas with purpose of selling their biological organs.

 

Escape from Rustavi Colony

Zurab Mskhviladze, head of the Penitentiary Department dismissed Irakli Gabunia, head of Rustavi Colony after the escape of Prisoners and appointed Gela Javakhishvili, deputy head of Rustavi Colony # 2. Prosecutors intends to investigate Gabunia‘s case. Prisoners could not escape without assistance of administration. On Sunday, 4 a.m. about 30 prisoners escaped from the colony by means of 30 meters long tunnel that they dug. None of the fugitives were arrested yet.

 

Prisoners beat Saakashvili

In Sagarejo colony Prisoners had beaten certain Saakashvili in order to retaliate to Mikheil Saakashvili, newly appointed Minister of justice. According to Ministry several prisoners were taken from Ksani Colony to Sagarejo Colony Newcomers demanded from administration to bring wine and women, as they were in privileged position in Ksany but insead they appeared in single cells. Who has the same surname as Minister. They were taken to single cells again for longer term. After Mikheil saakashvili became the Minister of Justice he changed the whole administrative staff of Colonies, who in fact lived on prisoners expense.

 

Jaba Ioseliani was attacked

On so-called "Sabcho" square the car of ex leader of former military group "Mkhedrioni" Jaba Ioseliani was attacked. According to Dodo Gugeshashvili, one of the leader of "Mkhedrioni", the car was stopped when unidentified car crashed twice to it. Crashed damaged the car and injured driver. Luckily enough Ioseliani himself was not in car. It was intentional act because attackers knew by license plates that it was his car. However, because of dark tinted windows attackers couldn't identify whether Jaba Ioseliani was in the car or not.

 

Money demanded from President of "Prisoners Commonwealth"

Lali Aptsiauri President of "Prisoners Commonwealth" accused Customs Staff of in ignorance. She made declaration after customs stopped 1 million USD worth medications, donated to the organization. It was stopped in customs for a month because customs staff couldn't identify whether the cargo belonged to donation or it was another commercial load. "Prisoners Commonwealth" president was demanded to pay fine of 4200 Lari for cargo storage. Because of irresponsibility of customs officials Aptsiauri is forced to "buy" the medicines donated to her organization.

 

George Makharadze in Prison Hospital

According to Zurab Mskviladze, Head of Penitentiary Department health conditions of Georgian diplomat George Makharadze is hard and he will stay in Republican Prison Hospital until full recovery. Makharadze was transported to Georgea 30/06/2000 and on the 1st of July taken to Prison Hospital. Because of emotional stress his health is seriously damaged. he suffers from ishemia, hiperthonia, high blood pressure and above all nervousness.

George Makharadze, advisor of Georgian ambassador in USA was arrested in 1996 for drunk driving and car accident that caused death of 16 years old girl. He was lifted Diplomatic Immunity by Georgian authorities and sentenced for 21 years in prison.

 

Chechens escaped from hospital

On the 19th of November 25 Chechens disappeared from Tbilisi hospital. Not an uncommon things for hospitals, but not in this case. These patients were carefully guarded. They were Chechens who crossed Georgian - Russian border in Ingushetia and caused serious concern. They were placed in hospital and guarded by security forces. After their recovery their case had to be handed to the court.

According to one of the versions, they are dislocated somewhere in Pankisi Valley. Head of Akhmeta Police Temur Arabuli doesn' t exclude this fact. "Even though we control Pankisi pretty tough, we do not check the dokuments of persons." - 7000 Chechen refugees are now in Valley.

 

Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture in action

By support of several organizations, the Center of Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture was opened in Tbilisi. Victims of torture can get medical and psychological assistance for free of charge. Center was funded by Euro Commission, UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and WFL. Technical support is provided by International Rehabilitation Council of Victims of Torture based in Copenhagen. 200 Similar Center are established by this organization worldwide. Tbilisi Center will work in three directions: for IDP's from Abkhazia and Samachablo, Chechen Refugees in Pankisi Valley.

New organization created in Senaki

Senaki regional organization of Human Rights Protection and Organization of Prisoner Rights was established. According to founders, the objective of the organization is Human Rights Protection. Organization actively operates in many other regions of Georgia and has multiple regional offices. The President of organization is Mr. Giorge Lagidze who is also the head of the alliance of NGO's "Tanadgoma". Head of Senaki office is Dr. Sandro Gadelia.

 

 

Tariff of electric power to be increased

The representatives of Trade Unions were protesting in front of State Chancellery demanding the abolishment of decree №8 of 31-st of August of Energetic commission on increase of tariffs on electric energy, that made 9,8 tetri per ilowatt. Strikers mistrust the commission and demand meeting with President.

Miron Pirtskheliani, head of Society of Energetic employees joined the demand. According to him, there is a document elaborated in the Ministry of State Property administration to increase the tariff beginning from April 2001. ,,It's a pity, that no one thinks about people, they are only concerned with personal welfare. People must take initiative. My position is that the tariffs have to be lowered to half".

Life conditions worsen

According to research carried out by UN experts 40. 000. 000 people lived below the poverty line in former socialist countries in 1989; their daily income did not exceed 4 US$. According to the same source the data of the year of 2000 is 147. 000. 000. UN specialists consider the figure to be disastrous.

 

The accused on hungry strike

19 years old Misha Sigua found dead and buried in Maltakva forest. He disappeared on 22.03.2000. near the theatre. Several persons, presumably linked to the murder were arrested, among them Kakha Kurashvili, Archil Kilasonia, Tamas Tsilosani and Giorgi Jikobadze. Jikobadze was imprisoned last, although everybody knew that he was prime suspect as far as he was the one who brought Sigua to downtown. He was imprisoned on different counts of criminal charges and only later he faced murder charges. He declares that he's innocent. According to his lawyer, Jikobadze initiated hunger – strike and his health is under serious threat. ,,Poti Prosecutor's Office applies unlawful methods to make my defendant to confess" – declares Keburadze, lawyer for imprisoned. He also declared that no one pays attention to accused including Public Defender and Committee on Human Rights Protection. Jikobadze is placed in Kutaisi prison №2. According to Jeiram Kharebadze, he is on hunger strike for more than a week.

 

Street fight qualified as robbery

Inhabitant of Chkorotsku region Koba Badzagua became another victim of police abuse. In 1998 in the village of Khabume Badzagua was involved in a fight. Police officers seized the fight and the "organizer" Badzagua was placed in pre-detention isolator. According to his mother, police officers demanded money otherwise they would harden the charges and torture, family couldn‘t afford payoff of bribes. That's why he faced fake made-up robbery charges and was imprisoned for 7 years. It is also the fact, that mother found her son hardly beaten in prison. This case is just one of hundreds taking place in Georgia.

 

 

 

 

Trafficking in women and children exceeds drug-trafficking

Heavy political, economic and social situation in Georgia contributed to the development of organized crime-trafficking. In general, for criminal world in Georgia, income made from trafficking in women and children exceeded one in drugs. According to Nugzar Sulashvili, head of international union "Protection Center of Migration and Foreign Citizens", reported to the corespondent of GEA _"The problem of trafficking has become global. The role of Third World countries in the process is of exporters and Georgia is one of them. Public should be informed that many of the firms that are involved in employment or study issues abroad are in many cases traffickers. It is common knowledge nowadays that many young people and among them girls are potential prostitutes or low paid workers overseas.

Our government keeps silence on the issue and same time is unable and/or unwilling to fight growing unemployment rate when there is no mechanism for protecting citizens of the country".

 

 

Shurgaia accused in perpetration terrorist act against President is going to leave Georgia

According to Sevdia Ugrekhelidze, lawyer of Guram Absandze, police threatens prisoners in Republican Prison Hospital. For example, IDP (Internally Displaced Person) from Abkhazia Ruslan Arziani, accused in murder, has heart troubles. He has no relatives left but granny, he used to know Absandze and Kobalia. May be this became the reason why he is forced to confess that he was informed about planned escape. After he refused, he was severely beaten. In spite of illness 26 years old prisoner is placed in isolator.

According to Ugrekhelidze, staff members of hospital are also tortured: they prick with needles their fingers and use AC power. She declares that, prisoners are punished according to several principles – prisoners with same names are punished and those who come from their villages.

According to Shurgaia, at the entrance of his house there are several cars shadowing him. He even saw some people on the roof of a neighboring house. Ensuing above mentioned the lawyer calls for all political prisoners to abstain from return to Georgia because their life is in danger.

Due to current situation Shurgaia plans to leave the country.

 

Kobalia demands to take him to hospital again

Relatives of former Head of National Guard Loti Kobalia addressed to Public defender, Nana devdariani to facilitate Kobalia's transfer to Ortachala Prison Ambulatory because of his poor health conditions. In addition he suffers from high blood pressure. Kobalia declares that it would be better for him to be under the supervision of doctors.

 

 

Population of Kvemo Kartli blocked the road

The situation in Kvemo Kartli region is becoming more and more tense. Population protests against Shortage of electric supply, tap water and pensions. Inhabitants blocked the traffic on Kakheti highway near village Norio. The reason is the lack of running water; According to population, the same problem is common for Rustavi also.

Difficult situation is observed also in Gardabani where the employees of ,,Tbilsresi" permanently strike, demanding their wages. Dissatisfaction of population grows every day and such actions are going to have a common character. People suffer from shortage of electricity, water and unpaid wages and pensions.

Lately, in Gardabani region employees of "Tbilsresi", together with inhabitants of Norio village blocked the highway. Dissatisfaction of population is reinforced by neglectful attitude of authorities to the problems; the authorities only speak and do nothing so far.

 

 

 

Police arrested innocent

In January 2000 M. Vekua addressed to the Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights, that her son D. Vekua was arrested by Saburtalo Police officers in Tbilisi.

The representatives of Center arranged meeting with Vekua. Detainee declared that he was arrested near Republican Hospital by police officers when he was jogging. The reason of his arrest was the stolen accumulator. As it appeared night before the arrest someone stole an accumulator from the car. Vekua was arrested for the reason, that he found the accumulator in bushes, understood that it would be useful for a family and called his friend Z. Pipinashvili to carry it home.

When they approached the spot, they were arrested. It has to mentioned, that when they were arrested police didn't yet now about the fact of thief, because the owner did not submitted the application to police station, but anyway officers were near the stop.

After two days of physical and psychological coercion Vekua "confessed" that he had stolen the accumulator.

Judge decided to bring verdict of home imprisonment. Then Vekua had an opportunity to go to doctors, who confirmed, that he was beaten and tortured. The lawyers of the Center will protect the rights of Vekua in the court.

 

 

 

The Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights protects the rights of Solders beamed with radiation

In June 2000 Pavle Eluashvili addressed to the Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights who mistrusts the office of Military Prosecutor. He puts following facts: in 1997 Prosecutors Office launched a criminal case on fact that in Lilo Military Division, which is under the Supervision of Border Guards 9 solders were seriously injured with radiation. All 9 soldiers are invalids and their lives are under serious danger. Despite of these facts Prosecutors Office sieved the case, because of absence of responsible person.

The representative of the Center met with solders according to them since 10.12. 1996 they were on a compulsory military service in Lilo Division. Since April 15, 1997 they found symptoms of strange disease. After a lengthy observations in Georgian hospitals they went abroad, because for Georgian doctors the disease was absolutely unknown. On the 3 of September 1997 the diagnose of Moscow biophysics institute was final-beam radiation. Solders demand adequate healthcare and punishment of guilty.

 

 

Temur Papashvili is unlawfully detained

Despite the expiration of term Temur Papashvili is still arrested. He is accused in murder of Kakhaber Sepiashvili in dedoplistskaro district. According to his Lawyer 3-month detention sanction was delivered on 12th of August. On the 8th of November term was increased by appeals court to 6 months. Signing Court decided that there was not enough evidence to prove the guilt of Papashvili. Case needed further investigation. The term of his detention was not prolonged but he is still detained. Zurab Rostiashvili, lawyer, spoke with the head of 5th isolator Demiko Demnozishvili, who promised to release Papiashvili, but has not kept promise yet.

State to Court

Avto Chachua, lawyer of "League of Invalids" is going to sue state in court because of debt it owns to League. Lawyer declared about it on a press conference on 22 of November. Head of the organization Giorgi Dzneladze declared that only part of money out of enterprise they were given by state. The total amount of debt is 6.000.000 Gel. The sue is inspired also by fact, that state has not yet even confirmed it's debt liability.

 


"HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" # 24-25, 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

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