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New Law about Freedom of Assembly and Demonstrations will become effective on August 18

18.08.2009
New rules about assembly and demonstrations will become effective  today. The Rules  include the right of the policemen to use only non-lethal weapons to disperse demonstrations and establish  90-day administrative detention.

The legislative amendments adopted by the Parliament after some noisy discussions, were published in the magazine “Sakanonmdeblo Macne” (The Overview of Georgian Law) on August 3. The amendments will become effective  on August 18, on the 15th day from their promulgation.

According to the amendments, it is forbidden to block  buildings, to  hinder  traffic, to block  streets by  constructions or  transport vehicles. Blocking the street will be legal only ifthere is at lease the number of protesters specified in the amendments.

A policeman has the right to use a non-lethal weapon and a non-lethal projectile  in  carrying out official duties, in defending public order and security, and in taking measures against an activity which is dangerous to the society.

In consideration of the demand of the opposition, the rule and the meaning of  “non-lethal weapons” are defined in the law . Accordingly, the Minister of Internal Affairs should  a release an explanator statement during athemonth after the law becomes effective.

t The 90-day detention, instead of the present1-month, will apply  only to crimes committed after August 18, 2009. A 3-month administrative detention will be given for hooliganism such as swearing and verbal assault against a citizen and other offensive activities violating public order and the peace of the society. 

 Also, a 90-day administrative  detention is an alternative punishment for  people who  resist law enforcement officer and disobey a lawful order of a military sevice officer of military service during the carrying out of an official duty. In addition, the law bans blocking  the Court entrance, holding meetings and demonstrationnear the residence of a judge in the court or on its groundswithin 20 meters  from the court building , blocking streets illegally during demonstrations etc.
The 3-month detention will apply to repeated occasions of driving a vehicle by a person who has no right to drive or whose  right has been taken away . Disobeying the demand of police officers to stop a car or leaving the area immediately after being involved in an accident will be punished by a 3-month detention. The law provides the opportunity to appeal administrative punishment.

As the government claims, the law should be sent to the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law) and  further amendments should be made according to the recommendations of the Commission. The Parliamentary opposition demanded that the law should be affirmed only after  conclusions would be made by the Venice Commission.

Source: Interpressnews

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