HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA
THE INDEPENDENT SOCIETY "HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" Monthly bulletin #2 (28) 2001
HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION CENTER – HUMAN RIGHTS LIBRARY
,,(1)Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) 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"
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Journalists still beaten in Georgia;
Attacks on Foreigners in Georgia;
National Library hosted first exhibition of Amnesty International;
Ketevan Asanidze on hungry strike;
Two hostages released in Pankisi Valley;
One more policeman committed a murder;
Prisoners held hostage the representative of Prison administration;
The number of trafficking victims increases in Georgia;
Gorelik is not left without care;
Discussion of law on "lustration" proceeds;
Seminar of NGOs;
Murtskvaladze against President's wife;
Next attempt to escape – seized.
New Human Rights Web-Site
Since March, 2001 new web-site of the ISHRG http://hro.iatp.org.ge is up. Page contain information about the human rights organizations, human rights documents and legislation, country reports published by local and international non-governmental organizations as well as governments.
Journalists still beaten in Georgia
On the 24th of February the head of editorial board of newspaper "Meridiani" Tamaz Tsertsvadze was attacked and severely beaten in Tbilisi Bakhtrioni Street. He suffers serious injuries. Prior to this fact the newspaper published several articles about "Citizens Union"(Government Party) and his influential leaders(Mr. Zhvania, Saakashvili, etc).
Several times he was threaten by phone, but when he did not stop publishing critical articles about government, above mentioned fact took place.
According to governing party it was not their order to beat Tsertsvadze, but facts prove opposite. Criminal case has been launched and the investigation proceeds.
Attacks on Foreigners in Georgia
On Saturday February 3rd two American citizens were walking through the train station located right outside of the Samgori metro station in Tbilisi when they were approached by a police officer who demanded to see passport. One of them was already out of sight and therefore was not asked for any documents. The man flashed very quickly some kind of badge but was not wearing an uniform. The officer was yelling narcotics, weapons, this is the police in Russian. As American believed this must be a routine visa and passport check he got out passport and showed him that had a Georgian visa. Policeman grabbed passport and grabbed him by the arm and said he was going to check him for weapons and narcotics. At that moment three more men ran up and pushed him into a closet room behind one of the ticket counters. The men also showed some kind of badge but were also not wearing any kind of uniforms. He was shoved into this room and the four of them surrounded him. They were yelling at him to take everything out of pockets. He was very scared and realized that this was already a very illegal and also dangerous situation. He asked if they could do this check outside in view of other people and one man held the door shut saying "we are the police, you have to trust us!" After intimidating him they started taking things from his pockets and looking at his things while holding him. "I wanted to scream for help but was afraid they might begin hitting me if I resisted. They found most of my money and credit cards. One man took a hundred dollar bill from my wallet leaving the remaining 10-15$ to me. After a couple minutes they said There is no problem we will let you go. As I was leaving the room one man yelled in broken Russian and English there is no democracy in Georgia. I eventually found my colleague hiding in the market place and we fled the scene and got quickly onto the metro." - Victim of attack told our organization wishing to stay incognito.
It is unclear whether or not the men were police officers in the Samgori region or not, but this incident can certainly be added to the body of facts about police corruption and human rights violations in Georgia.
National Library hosted first exhibition of Amnesty International
In the grand hall of National Library Tbilisi initiative group of Amnesty International organized an exhibition aimed in popularization of organization activities and supported worldwide campaign against torture. Organizers of the meeting emphasized the involvement of National Library director Mr. Levan Berdzenishvili in organizing of exhibition. He, charge free, permitted the group to organize an exhibition. The exhibition was opened by coordinator of AI Tbilisi initiative group Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili.
Exhibits represented various materials, posters, brochures, booklets and so on… of Amnesty International groups through the world, featuring activities of organization. The film "Light in the darkness" made by Amnesty International Canadian Section featuring human rights violations in the world was shown on exhibition.
Exhibition was attended by representatives of diplomatic missions, NGO's and representatives of other interested organizations. Exhibition was widely covered by Georgian mass-media. Participants of the exhibition signed the petitions prepared by initiative group to the Presidents of Belarus and Uzbekistan, where group members address Mr. Lukashenko and Mr. Karimov to release concrete persons, alternation of sentence or moratorium of death penalty.
Exhibition dedicated to the campaign against torture lasted for three days.
Ketevan Asanidze on hungry strike
Tengiz Asanidze (allegedly accused on charges of attack on leader of Ajara, Western Georgia, Aslan Abashidze) can not be taken to Tbilsi on a court hearing. Lawyer Zaza Khatiashvili addressed Georgian Government and personally President to ensure the implementation of article 71 of Georgian Constitution. Meanwhile Asanidze's wife seeks asylum in other countries.
Sister of Asanidze deems hungry strike to be the only way to rescue her brother and goes on striking in front of Public Defender's Office. Asanidze's wife declared that she can also join the strike and for her it's not important which country grants asylum.
Two hostages released in Pankisi Valley
During the release of hostages two side shots took place in Pankisi. Both ex-hostages are wounded and are under medical supervision. The kidnappers turned to be local Kists. The wounded are reported to be on the other side too. Police arrested no one. According to ex-hostage Zaur Gonashvili, two Spanish businessmen are kidnapped by the same group, which separated him from family for 58 days. Kidnappers treated hostages badly and they suffered of malnutrition.
One more policeman committed a murder
After hiding for three days, Police officer of Gldani-Nadzaladevi district, Zaza Ianvarashvili surrendered to police who killed Kakha Kalandarishvili with personal weapon. Criminal case has been launched.
Prisoners held hostage the representative
of Prison administration
Widespread digging of tunnels had been supplemented by more aggressive form of escape - several days ago prisoner opened fire to guards in Ksani colony. Both sides got to hospital as a result. On the 18th of January, in Kutaisi prison №2, the deputy head of which Levan Levidze is the nominee of penitentiary department Zurab Mskhviladze, prisoners organized an escape. 4 prisoners somehow managed to appear in administrative block of prison ignoring 12 closed iron doors. They held hostage the deputy head of prison Levidze and wlaked away. For prisoners left prison: Ilia Mikeltadze, born 1970; Zviad Sakhamberidze, born 1974; Beka Nemsadze, born 1982 and David Zarnadze, born 1971 who had been imprisoned for four times. Escaped took black "BMW" and drove to "white" bridge. They released the hostage, took a passer by car white "VAZ 2106" and disappeared. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Criminal case had been launched.
The number of trafficking victims increases in Georgia
The fact, that trafficking problem increases in Georgia is evident by number of people addressing NGOs. The fact is aggravated by practice, that women prefer to conceal their breached rights and public only knows the facts affecting men mainly.
More than 150 victims of trafficking addressed NGO the center of protection of emigrants and aliens. One of them is 43 years old, resident of Dedoplistskaro, Alexi Shiukashvili. That's his story: "I went to Turkey to support my family. One of our villagers worked in firm. I met Nely Gzirishvili and Mamuka Akhobadze, they also worked in firm that sent workers abroad. I paid 500$ to them. They assured me that my remuneration would be 300$ per month and plus free nutrition three times a day. At the week ends I wold get 700-800$. 17 persons went to Istanbul. There, certain Turk of ethnic Armenian origin with whom Akhobadze spoke a while met us. He demanded additional 150 dollars and who didn't pay the money he took all documents. We were taken to place 40 kilometers far from Istanbul to work in furniture factory. Instead of 8 hours we worked for 15, we ate only boiled spinach and lived in a pigsty. We were able to work for 16 days only, we were paid 75$ and we left. I had my documents with me and crossed the border easily, but those who could not pay agent 150$ had a lot of problems".
Gorelik is not left without care
Canadian citizen Olga Gorelik goes on striking in the 5th prison and she is under the constant supervision of doctors. According to the deputy head of penitentiary department Paata Zakareishvili: they won't let her die and if her life would be under a serious thereat doctors, in accordance with legislation will save her. According to him Gorelik goes on striking sporadically, now she feels herself well and no one has right to order her-eat.
Gorelik herself doesn't complain against penitentiary department, she complains against persons who had investigated her case.
As a reminder, Tbilisi prosecutor's office accuses Gorelik in selling children abroad and does not exclude the possible purpose of her activities to be organ transplantation.
Discussion of law on "lustration" procceds
On Parliamentary session on the 13th of February, head of parliament Zurab Zhvania initiated the adoption of law on "lustration." Ex-head of intelligence service, m.p. Irakli Batiashvili supports the proposal. According to him the law should imply prohibition by confidential commission of work of ex-soviet KGB agents in state structures and it should not mean the publication of lists of such persons. Opening KGB archives will damage independent Georgian intelligence itself.
Seminar of NGOs
On the 17-21 January, 2001 Independent Society "Human Rights In Georgia" with support of U.S. Institute of Peace arranged a seminar on issues of conflict prevention with participation of all three South Caucasus countries. Representatives of NGO's from "Nagorno Karabakh" and South Osetia were also invited.
Participants discussed the issues of conflict launch mechanisms, their escalation and measures of it's prevention and establishment of peace. Participants discussed the above mentioned issues and draw the conclusion, that the development whole Caucasus region depends upon redress of peace on it's territory.
Seminar featured mutual understanding, respect and tolerance. Participants expressed their concern, that there is no, unfortunately, possibility of meeting of South Caucasus NGO's frequently. Such seminars would greatly conduce to the further understanding and bringing together of Caucasus nations.
Murtskvaladze against President's wife
On the 20th of February our organization "Human Rights in Georgia" was addressed by Gogita Murtskvaladze resident of village Tsikhisdziri in Ajara A/R. He has a son who is disabled. According to him the rights of his son were violated by organization "Georgian women for peace and life" headed by Nanuli Tsagareishvili-Shevardnadze(wife of Georgian President). Recently members of above mentioned organization Maia Kvezereli, Rusudan Khamurzaria, Neli Gurgenidze and Keti Gogelia made him to write a letter beforehand where he expresses his gratitude to President's wife who covered the costs of medical assistance for his son. They published the letter in opposition newspaper "Iberia spectri" and then "couldn't find" funds for child. Murtskvaladze informed the public by means of TV "Evrika" and "Rustavi 2". After TV appearance he was threatened to be killed. Deputy Minister of Health Care Manana Gudushauri directly threatened him.
According to Murtskhvaladze he is in extreme need, his family is very poor and all finances goes for treatment of child and he has no money to sue. He addresses NGOs to support him and his family.
Next attempt to escape – seized
According to Giorgi Arveladze Head of Penitentiary reform Division two prisoners were arrested on 16th of February when tried to escape by means of tunnel in №1 Rustavi colony. According to order of the Minister of Justice, staff members of Penitentiary department got monthly salaries premium. According to Arveladze the attempts of escape can be linked with guarantees from the Ministry of Interior, that the escaped won't be captured. 13 escapes took place for last years –only one been investigated. After Saakashvili takeover 4 escapes and 7 attempts took place. In six cases tunnels were dug.
Sevdia Ugrekhelidze hopes new leadership in General Prisoner's
Office will do
Sevdia Ugrekhelidze lawyer of one of the imprisoned on Akaki Eliava case hopes it will be investigated anew after appointment of new Prosecutor General. On the 9th of July Akaki Eliava head of riot on 19th October 1998 was killed in Zestaponi together with Gocha Cvilava. His other 3 companions Joseph Sanaia, Gia Zarkua and Zurab Gvazava were arrested.
According to lawyer legally they have no right to demand the re-investigation of case. But taking into consideration the fact, that charges are silly new Prosecutor General will hopefully pay attention to case. Gia Zarkua, driver of Eliava, is seriously ill.
Prosecutor's Office joined two cases and promoted several charges against imprisoned. Sanaia and Gvazava are charged for taking head of Zestaponi Police Ruben Asanidze hostage on the 9th of July, resistance to law enforcement bodies, robbery, theft and high treason. Zarkua is charged with activities connected with episode on the 9th of July.
Gujar Kurashvili accused in high treason and terrorist act attempt
According to lawyer of Gujar Kurashvili ex-head of Georgian army Temur Goksadze, the charges of attempt to kill president and high treason will not be proven in court. According to lawyer he would demand the conditional release of defendant because of his health problems for last month and a half Kurashvili is in Republican Prison Hospital. Defendant pleads not guilty. On the 22 of May arrested persons are accused in perpetration of terrorist act against president, among them Kurashvili and several members of guard service of "Coca-cola Botlers Georgia".
"HUMAN RIGHTS IN GEORGIA" # 2 (28), 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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