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2008-12-26
Human Rights Centre Holds Seminar for Law enforcers in Samegrelo –Zemo Svaneti
“Prevention of Torture –Aspects of Implementation of International Law”- this topic was discussed by the Human Rights Center and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture together with the law enforcers in Zugdidi. European Union representatives also attended the seminar on December 25, 2009. The Human Rights Center lawyer familiarized the police officers, the representatives of prosecutor and judicial officers with the importance of various Georgian laws and international instruments that must be realized in those bodies by all means.

2008-12-26
Farmers Are Demanded to Pay Long-abolished Land Taxes from Small Farmer
Farmer have reported to the Human Rights Centre that in 2000 Dedoplistskaro district was declared a natural disaster zone of and consequently, former president Eduard Shevardnadze ordered at that time Georgian government to abolish taxes on land plots in the district. However, district tax inspections are still demanded locals to pay taxes on their small land holdings. This is especially worrying since on July 11 2007 amendments were introduced to the Tax Code and these abolished taxes all together on land-owners, private persons and local authority on the debts accumulated in arrears prior to January 1 2005. Thus, as lawyers define, the land owners were discharged from the debts they had accumulated in arrears before January 1, 2005. However, the commission of the Ministry of Finances passed a resolution on November 21, 2008 which ordered regional tax inspections to demand farmers to pay taxes and penalty charges on land holding dating back to 2000.

2008-12-26
Budget Funds in Kakheti Region Inadequate for Social Programs
In 2008 municipality boards of Kakheti region abolished libraries, culture houses and several dozens kindergartens in the villages because of a lack of funds in local budget. For the same reason expenses for social programs have been decreased or completely abolished. Several hundreds employees of the organizations that are funded from local government have not received their salaries yet. Meanwhile the salaries of district governors increased from 1,500 to 2,400 GEL; and chairpersons of municipality boards have their salaries increased from 1 000 to 1 500 GEL; as well as other expenses of the regional governor’s administration.

2008-12-26
Tsalenjikha District Council Member Speaks, Media Freedom Restriction and Misuse of Funds
Giorgi Vekua, member of Tsalenjikha District Council expressed what is considered as a scandalous statement during the Tsalenjikha District Governor’s election. He said that the freedom of media was restricted. Such a statement is repeated each day. However, what is surprising is to consider that Giorgi Vekua is a National Movement member. He made this and other such statements during a council session. Giorgi Vekua was a Tsalenjikha District Governor candidate but he declined during the election process, which was conducted during the council session. He demanded that an interim commission be set up to study the work of the District’s administration.

2008-12-26
Witnesses Are Afraid of Telling the Truth
The detention of Paata Kaikatsishvili has witnesses but they are afraid to come out and tell the truth. Paata is the relative of Zurab Noghaideli, who is the former Georgian Prime Minister. Kaikatsishvili was detained on December 27, 2008. Based on official investigation materials “the police discovered 0,255 grams of heroine in Kaikatsishvili’s right sock.” The detained says that drugs were planted to him. The witnesses of arrest operation say the same thing. However, only 4 witnesses were interrogated during the trial and all of them happened to be the police officers who were involved in arresting Kaikatsishvili.

2008-12-25
Russian Soldiers Reinforce Control of Gali District
Georgian journalist personally saw the deployment and mobilization of Russian army in the village of Pichori in Gali district two days ago. Paata Lagvilava, journalist for the regional newspaper “Samgrelos Kronika” arrived in the village with the support of his relatives and despite the great risks involved, he was able to spend two days and nights in Pichori. The journalist managed to interview locals and was able to take photos of the village. Residents of Pichori complained about hard social and the political situation they face.

2008-12-24
Dignified Beginning and Dismal End
A resolution of the Government of Georgia dated December 3 stipulated that the governmental program for assisting infants from socially excluded families has been abolished. The program covered those families that were listed in the unified database of socially excluded families and had poverty scores of 100 000 points or less. 

2008-12-23
Person Who Should Be Operated Still Held in Prison
A Prisoner with heart-disease has not been allowed access to medical treatment.  Since being locked up he suffers from acute pain but according to the penitentiary department, he cannot be taken to jail hospital without the approval of a corresponding medical expert’s report.

2008-12-23
Agents of Insurance Companies Blackmail Teachers
Agents of insurance companies are compelling teachers to sign contracts with insurance companies. The agents are workers of educational-resource centers or their relatives and/or the family members of the employees working at educational resource center; in some instances they are pubic school directors. If teachers do not sign contracts with insurance companies, they are threatened with dismissal from their jobs.  Although Georgian government issued resolution # 256 on November 21 2007 that envisages assigning free medical vouchers to teacher, it is at the discretion of the voucher holder as to which insurance company is selected prior to December 31 2008. The beneficiary shall not be unjustly influenced in making the choice. The Minister of Education provided written instructions about this policy to territorial departments responsible to the ministry about it in written form.

2008-12-23
Human Rights Winners Announced in Tbilisi
The Human Rights Center and online newspaper www.humanrights.ge organized competition for journalists and photographers working in the sphere of human rights. Winners were announced on December 17 at the Kopala” Gallery “in Tbilisi.

2008-12-23
Thousands of GEL for Needless PR And “Unknown” District Governors
According to official information Kakheti municipality budgets spent 350 thousand GEL on the publicity of the activities implemented by local authorities. In parallel to funding, regional newspapers with the district administrations, independent online and printed media sources receive part of local budgets for “informational-advertising services”. Besides that, events aimed for the publicity of activities of local governments are funded from so-called “other” cultural and administrative departments. Although first officials of local authorities almost every day meet TV Companies and newspaper reporters, over 82 % of interviewed people does not know who is the governor of their district.

2008-12-23
Five Basic Problems facing the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region
A Samtskhe-Javakheti regional conference was held in the town of Akhalkalaki. The conference was dedicated in its title to “Patience, Tolerance and Civil Integration.” As a result, civil society representatives adopted a joint resolution upon the conclusion. 

2008-12-23
Russian Soldiers Returned to Village of Perevi Village
Residents of the village of Perevi in Imereti region, where Russian have since returned, live in the village under constant fear. People state they were not so scared, even when Russians first occupied their village; they added how the return of Russian occupants might cause even more serious problems for them.

2008-12-23
Police Officers Beat Suspects in Tsalenjikha
The Tsalenjikha Police Department police officers beat Tornike Kvaratskhelia and Raibul Pipia ruthlessly on December 11, 2008. The physically assaulted men were suspected of stealing a car and upon searching the suspects, the police “discovered” Marihuana with a hand grenade.  Both Tornike Kvaratskhelia and Raibul Pipia deny that they had anything to do with the car thief. They also say that both Marihuana and hand grenade were planted on them by the police. Temur Kardava, the attorney of the suspects managed to meet with his clients only after 14 hours following their arrest.

2008-12-23
Majority of Personnel of Kakheti Regional Administration Failed Tests
On December 20, personnel of Kakheti regional administration was tested and only four out of 15 people passed the tests. According to the resolution of the examination commission of the regional administration the aim of the testing was to assess professional skills, qualification, abilities and personal character of the people employed at the regional administration. However, deputy regional governors did not take part in tests.

2008-12-22
IDP Children Freezing in the Forest
Officially approximately 200 people from Shida Kartli and Tskhinvali Regions remain in Kakheti Region as IDPs. More than 120 out of this amount are warehoused in former educational institutions of Lagodekhi, Telavi and Sagarejo districts. Only those IDPs that live in so called IDP Centers are able to receive a small amount of aid within the framework of the UN Food Programme. However, those IDPs that live with their relatives and in abandoned houses often do not have even bread to eat.

2008-12-22
Houses Burnt Down Two Kilometers Away from Fire-Brigade Office
In the evening of December 18 sudden fire seriously damaged four houses in Ketevan Tsamebuli Str. in Akhaltsikhe. Since telephone does not work at the office of fire-brigade the rescue team arrived at the place half an hour later. It must be noted that the service office is located two kilometers away from Ketevan Tsamebuli Street.

2008-12-19
Land Plots Granted Based on Incorrect Survey Maps Results in Legal Row
A large scaled privatization started for those agricultural plots that were provided under a lease agreement in the Shida Kartli Region. However, it was soon apparent that all was not well when protests broke out in several villages of Shida Kartli. The locals were against the mass privatization scheme.  For instance, the inhabitants of village Zeghduleti protested against the privatization of pastures that belonged to their village. They said that the poor peasants would not be able to purchase pasture plots and that strangers will gain control of their pastureland. However, in the end they found the solution. They started collecting money to buy the plots but it was too late. The pastures had already been sold off. It turned out that the plots were granted on lease according to incorrect maps for years.

2008-12-19
Unprecedented Georgian Justice in Rapid Fashion
Speedy Trial of of Zurab Noghaideli, former Prime Minister’s Relative

Paata Kaikatsishvili, from Kobuleti town and who happens to be the relative of Zurab Noghaideli was arrested on November 27. According to the bill of indictment, “the police discovered 0,255 grams of heroine in the right sock of Paata Kaikatsishvili. Heroine was wrapped in tin foil.” On December 3 a court found him guilty as charged. He was sentenced to 7 years of prison term and fined 5,000 GEL. According to the convict’s attorney the court was biased in passing judgement.

2008-12-11
Politically Motivated State Assistance Program for Infants Abolished
According to the resolution of the Georgian Authority issued on December, 2008 State Assistance Program for Infants from poor families has been abolished. Before the presidential elections of November 5, 2008 Mikheil Saakashvili promised to assist such kinds of families with grants of 1,000 GEL at the birth of each child. However, this initiative was canceled on December 5.

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