HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA
THE INDEPENDENT SOCIETY "HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" Monthly bulletin # 26-27/2001
HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION CENTER – HUMAN RIGHTS LIBRARY
This rights may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 14 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
IN TODAY'S ISSUE:
Press Statement of ISHRG
As we have already reported on early Saturday morning, 11th of November 2000, around at 5 A.M. unidentified persons arranged 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 computers, printer, UPS, gasoline heater, telephone set and all the documentation kept in the office.
Ministry of Interior failed to investigate the case, but according to our information police reluctance is suspicious. They have the finger prints of criminals but do nothing to persecute them. It had become clear, that one of the items taken during the burglary - gas heater, was found in house of policeman in Gori. The fact confirms, that the act was ordered by State Structures and it reveals reluctance of police and their unwillingness to investigate the case.
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 non-governmental structures working in human rights field. The organization deems responsible local authorities in happened and demands prompt and fair investigation of accident.
The tragedy of "plane boys" – Censorship in theatre
Recently young producer of Marjanishvili theatre Dato Doiashvili planned to make performance of real events that took place in 1983 when young people tried to hijack an aircraft with the purpose to flee from the soviets. Unexpectedly the producer was refused to carry out this plan. It seemed that country came back to rules of Soviet regime. Last years the theme became open to public but only by means of independent press. The head of theatre administration Otar Megvinetukhutsesi didn't accept the screenplayplay of writer Dato turashvili. According to Turashvili government is reluctant to recall old memories.
The fact didn't rise controversy in theatre, but one thing is clear - censorship in Georgia is still functional.
Back in old days several young people hijacked an aircraft and demanded the crew to land in the western country. The head of communist party Edward Shevardnadze condemned the offenders and they received capital punishment.
Mass detention of black minorities in Tbilisi
On the 15th of December group of foreign citizens approached our office to redress their violated rights. According to them on the 9th of December, roughly at 7 a.m. foreign citizens (from Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone, Rwanda, Ghana, Bangladesh) were unlawfully arrested by Varketili III Police officers in Tbilisi and were delivered to Isani Police station. According to Kenyan citizen Daniel Rizana Police officers demanded from them to sign unfamiliar forms filled in by policemen themselves.
Detainees demanded the presence of interpreter but their demands were ignored.
Several hours later they were delivered to the main division of Tbilisi Police where other Afro detainees were present. Some of them were from Rwanda, Nigeria, and Kenya. Newdetainees were settled in single cameras and were interrogated by officers who hardly knew English . As it appeared later the reason of their detention was expired visas, although as it appeared most of them held valid visas.
Detainees were held for 72 hours in main division of Tbilisi police in cold cameras without food, in absence of information, lawyer and interpreter. They were under physical and psychological stress and could only hear each-other in dark rooms where they spent all this time. They thought their lives were threatened.
On the 12th of December detained on charges of illegal stay in the country 20 persons were taken to Georgian Azerbaijanian border, so called "red bridge". On the way to the point of destination some detainees were tortured by police officers by applying electric shock .
They were unlawfully arrested by Varketili III Police officers in Tbilisi one more time on December 31, 2000 and January 3, 2001. And the only and the main reason of detention in all cases was COLOR OF THEIR SKIN.
Our organization seriously concerned with these cruel and unacceptable FACTS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION and demands investigation of all the above-mentioned facts and punishment of all law enforcement officers involved in human rights violation to stop the practice once and forever. If practice continues Georgia will be deemed as unsafe country for foreign citizens and our duty is to warn foreign governments about the situation.
Gorelik had been suspected earlier in children trade
Recently dual citizen of Russia and Canada Olga Gorelik was arrested with children trade charges. She underwent 3 months of pre-detention procedure. Several days ago Canadian ambassador visited her. Ambassador declared that he would not interfere in the investigation. According to Interpol national bureau Gorelik had been suspected earlier in similar activities by U.S. Iimmigration and Naturalization Service. As far as Gorelik is foreign citizen, Tbilisi prosecutor's office addressed Interpol to provide information about her. As it became clear since April 1999 Washington Interpol bureau was interested in her case as well. According to Otar Shartava, staff member of Interpol national bureau, Gorelik was gathering pregnant Russian women and promised to sell their children in the U.S. Prosecutors Office continues investigation.
Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights
Protected the interests of 400 families
Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights was contacted by citizens living on Gotua street. They were in need of legal assistance to move class action lawsuit against Company "GT Mobile" who decided to construct on the street their power station. As soon as the people living nearby found out about the fact they stopped construction work. Special commission detected the construction and confirmed the existence of leakage of dangerous radioactive materials.
Based on the report of the commission the representative of center Vladimer Kakabadze addressed the court to place ban on ban such activities by power companies. As it appeared, company had violated many laws and bylaws. According to Georgian legislation import of any kind of equipment, including radioactive materials requires special permission. Company lacks to have a such a permission from appropriate government bodies.
Court session lasted two days and considering the appeal of the group of citizens living on Gotua street, represented by lawyers from the Center for the Protection of Constitutional Rights.
Tengiz Asanidze was not taken to Supreme Court
Case of Tengiz Asanidze has to be administered in Supreme Court by judge Turava. On 28-th of November Asanidze had to come to Supreme Court but because of fuel problems he wasn't taken to Court. Asanidze is represented by lawyer Zaza Khatiashvili. Process was postponed for 21-st of December.
15 years old arrested juveniles beaten
Sociological interrogation is conducted in Georgia by International Organization for the Defense of Prisoners Rights, Human Rights Protectionand Human Rights and Social Welfare of Prisoners.
According to Giorgi Tevzadze and Giorgi Lagidze most of the respondents name Ministry of Interior as the main body that violates human rights.
According to them detainees are exposed to physical and moral coercion in the ministry. According to Giorgi Tevzadze Police officers in Varketili had beaten 15 years old Mikheil Amirov and Didube-Chugureti police officers had severely beaten Giorgi Somkhishvili. The latter is seriously injured and suffered brain damage.
Injia returns to Georgia after Parliament makes decision
According to Shalva Shavgulidze, lawyer of ex minister of Communications Pridon Injia: "In spite of the fact that criminal charges against him are removed. Injia returns in Georgia only in case when Parliament makes appropriate decision. According to him all the measures taken are temporary and the case will only be solved when Parliament comes to the final decision on lifting the immunity. The case will be discussed on committee hearing on the 18th of December. Injia contacted lawyer and told him that he contacted parliament by fax asking the presence of lawyer on discussion. The whereabouts of ex minister who is charged with misuse of powers and organizing unrest in Martvili region during 1999 Parliamentary elections are unknown.
Great Britain only advised its citizens
According to information disseminated on the 11th of December by Great Britain Foreign Office, it warned British citizens to abstain from visiting several regions of Georgia because of very high crime rates. Tbilisi is one of such cities.
Violence against women partialy claims economic hardship
According to UNDP research, countries where violence against women is common practice are facing social-economic hardship. Research was also carried out in Canada, USA, Switzerland, Great Britain and Australia. According to research USA faces 5-10 billion dollars damages due to such violence. It does not reflect damage of affected persons. In developing countries due to violence women face serious health problems and it affects their ability to have children.
It is planed to empty three colonies
Head of penitentiary department Zurab Mskviladze plans to empty three colonies. According to him it is planned to remove prisoners from khoni colony to Geguty, from Sagarejo to Avchala and to join women's and children’s colonies.
Mskviladze gave proposals to minister of justice Mikhail Saakashvili and according steps are expected in this direction.
Spanish citizens kidnapped
On the 29th of November at about 10 p.m. at the territory of "Kus Tba" 4 armed persons hijacked the car "opel vectra" from Tea Abuladze. Abuladze informed the police about the fact, but until the vehicle was found on the 30th of November at 3 a. m. same criminals attacked "Mersedes" on Kakheti highway where father and son Suliko and George Kobiashvili were travelling together with their two Spanish guests. Attackers beat and tied up father and son and left them at the spot, but 40 years old Antonio Treligno and 47 years old Francisco Rodriguez were kidnapped. Police found the car next day in Akhmeta region, crashed to the tree. Investigation proceeds.
According to head of akhmeta Police Temur Arabuli, one of the six kidnapped was released in Pankisi Valley. On the 20th of December the case was discussed at the meeting in Jokolo village. According to Arabuli, no information about others who were kidnapped, including two Spanish businessmen, is available.
Violence against foreign citizens
Tbilisi prosecutor Tengiz makharadze raised the issue of increased violence against foreign citizens at prosecutors meeting. According to him during the last months several ongoing acts of violence were committed against foreigners:
On the 18th of September 1999 David Kartvelishvili committed theft in the room of Sheraton Metekhi Palace of USAID Eastern zone Manager David Bennedit. He took gold and other family possessions;
On the 10th of July 2000 from Barnov St. 64 car "Niva" was kidnapped which belonged to Red Cross";
On the 12th of September, 2000 at 1 a.m. David Mikuchadze and Merab Balanchivadze robbed the apartment of British citizen Pody Welsh at Mosashvili St 16 and took family belongings.
On the 29th of October at Barnov St 42. representative of "Sofing Lmited SakarTvelo"- LTD, Swiss citizen was robbed and 2400 US dollars taken.
On the 5th of May 2000 unknown persons at Abashidze St. applying physical violence, took away the car "Toyota Land Cruiser" from Swiss national Joseph Allan Show;
On the 30th of November, 2000 unknown person kidnapped two Spanish citizens on Airport highway - Antonio Treligno and Francisco Rodriguez;
On the 15th of November at 5 p.m. American national Wilcox Cristopher was taken to "Mikhailov" hospital with damages to health . . .
Foreign citizens are offered protection
"The Center for the protection of Foreign Citizens Rights and Security" launches the program of complex service of foreign citizens. One of the programs implies the physical security of foreigners. According to Nugzar Sulashvili, Head of the center, every foreign citizen willing to ensure protection every day will be properly protected. The cost of security service is lower than state protection service cost. The department has proper license to carry weapons as well.
Georgian citizens harassed in Russia
According to Moscow Mayor's decree, the registration of Georgian citizens living in Moscow will be launched. But russian immigration officials failed to issue registrations and as the result Georgian citizens will be forced to leave he capital of Russia as of March 1, 2001.
Fugitives are captured
According to Zurab Mskviladze, head of penitentiary department, Badri bregvadze was arrested in Gori. He escaped from Avchala colony on 10-th of October in Guria region (western Georgia). Tamaz Mekvabishvili was also arrested who escaped from Rustavi Colony in 1993.
NGO 's against Saakashvili
NGOs might arrange protest against Saakashvili, Minister of Justice who banned non-governmental organizations from monitoring of the Penitentiary which will carry out its functions without involving NGOss. This fact caused embarrassments of several NGO who are planning to protest.
"We will arrange protest against young reformer, because what he did in fact contradicts to the democratic reforms in penitentaries" - declared the representative of NGO David Liluashvili.
Representative of the NGO International Organization for Human Rights Protection and Social Security of Prizoners - George Tevzadze who agrees with his colleague, declared: "We will demonstrate our force. We won't let anyone ignore our organization when our demand is lawful".
International Organisation of Human Rights Protection headed by David Liluashvili arranged public opinion poll. Results are horrible. According to 99 persent of poll participants, Human Rights are violated. The results and coments of organisation will be sent to the UN and EU.
Disorder in colony
Zurab Ebralidze, head of Avchala Colony was dismissed after the complex examination of colony. Colony was placed into umaginary disorder. Temur Machaidze is temporary head of colony at this time.
Drugs and the head of
Inspection of the Penitentiary Department
Staff members of national Bureau of drugs department of the Ministry of Interior arrested Tamaz Chiladze, born in 1964, at Vazha Pshavela ave. Arrested worked as the head of Inspection Service of the penitentiary Department. He was dismissed several days earlier of arrest. The arrested declared that he took drugs in office and delivered other part of it at his home. According to Head of National Bureau Gocha Sisauri, 2,5 ml. g Heroin was found in Chiladze's pocket. He was under the influence of drugs when arrested. Criminal case № 7400319 was launched against Chiladze under the Article 260 1.
Minister of Justice retains parliament membership
According to Pikria Chikradze, one of the leaders of "new fraction" and member of procedural committee, ex leader of fraction "citizens union" - now Minister of Justice Mikheil Saakashvili Violates the law when retains Membership in Parliament. Saakashvili is Minister and Member of Parliament the same time already for two months. On the next sessionaltogether with Saakashvili case the fraction will discuss the case of Member of Parliament status of Zurab mskhviladze, Head of Penitentiary Department.
Prisoners launched hunger strike demanding reconciliation
Accordin to Dodo Gugeshashvili co-ordinator of "Mkhedrioni" organization, 15 prisoners started hunger strike at Rustavi Colony. Prisoners demand the fulfillment of Presidential decree on national reconciliation.
Does visa regime affect dead?
On the 4th of December 2000 Prisoner Topuria died in Rostov Colony. On the 6th of December he was already buried. Relatives decided to take corpse to Georgia but the colony administration demanded permission of Russian consulate in Georgia. Head of Parliamentary Committee of Human Rights Elene Tevdoradze is concerned with case and she contacted Georgian consul Zurab Ebralidze in order to arrange transportation of Topuria's corpse to Georgia.
Difficult situation in Avchala Colony
The transfer of Penitentiary to the Ministry of Justice caused many changes, but situation remains hard. 13 juveniles were pardoned from Avchala colony. 27 prisoners are in informational vacuum because of fund shortages nutrition is awful, there is no electric power. No wages – staff members work on pure enthusiasm. If the current situation goes on things will become worse" – declared head of colony Alexander Jincharadze.
All Penitentiary department staff members under drug test
All staff members of Penitentiary Department are undergoing drug tests starting in January 2001. According to Zurab Mskhviladze, Head of the department he will undergo tests first and then all members of department. 134 staff members work in penitentiary Department and 3500 persons in the whole system.
New style of escape - by climbing the wall
Escape of prisoners happened this time in Ksani and Rustavi colonies. All three prisoners escaped from Rustavi colony are Azeri nationals. According to existing information they were assisted by Azery guard. The guards didn't open fire against prisoners who were climbing over the prison wall. In the second colony of Pustavi a prisoner is missing as well. The fact of escape was kept in secrecy for several days.
New annual registration of Chechen refugees
The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation launched annual registration of refuges in Pankisi Valley. According to David Kipiani, lawyer of the Ministry, 1000 refugees were registered so far. New refugee cards were given to these persons. According to the same source, total of more than 7500 persons are registered as refugees in the ministry.
Islamic humanitarian organization leaves Pankisi
Islamic humanitarian organization "Al-Haramein" is forced to leave Georgia. The Organization stops functioning of free hospitals and nutrition spots in Pankisi Valley because Russia Declared organization "terrorist".
Arab, Afghan and Syrian "boeviks" in Pankisi Valley
According to head of Parliament sub-committee on relationship with the people Caucasus region Vakhtang Shamiladze, Pankisi Valley had become the place of gathering for "boeviks" (militants) from Arab countries, Afghanistan and sirya. The region will stay uncontrollable until militants present there. Shamiladze compared the position of Government not declaring openly that there are "boeviks" taking over the region. According to him, some representatives of law enforcement bodies activity participate in trade with arms and drugs in the region. Or may be they are waiting evidence like a videotape of "feast" of Georgian law enforcement officers and Pankisi Mafia structures. According to Shamiladze the involvement of Georgian officials in criminal activities in Pankisi kills the hopes that situation will ever return to control.
"HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" # 26-27, 2001
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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