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Statement against the Political Persecutions in Georgia

23.06.2009

From: South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders
To: Georgian Authorities

South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders is a network of 30 well established impartial and independent non-governmental organizations from the region of South Caucasus, aiming at supporting the human rights defenders in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders is extremely concerned about the arrests of the activists of the Georgian opposition political parties and violence used against them. These events have been continuing since last two months, from the point of kick off of the public demonstrations on 9th of April 2009 and are escalating recently.

We are particularly concerned about following facts that had been documented by local civil society organizations:

- Physical abuses of the demonstrators – Participants of the demonstrations are targeted by unidentified persons, who are often acting in masks. Demonstrators are bitten and threatened for the worst consequences if they continue to take part in the demonstrations;

- Arrests of the activists – several dozen of activists of the opposition political parties had been arrested in last two months. Apart from the violations of the procedural guarantees, based on the contextual circumstances these arrests are politically motivated.

- Provoked acts between demonstrators and representatives of law enforcement agencies –  There had been several instances were law enforcement agencies intentionally provoked tensions with participants of the demonstrations, which had been followed by administrative detentions;

Abovementioned acts are blatant violations of human rights of the political activists concerned. Moreover, politically motivated persecutions hamper the development processes in the country and contribute to the polarization of the government and general public.

South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders calls upon Georgian Authorities to:

- Investigate all acts of attacks on the demonstrators and punish those responsible;

- Release those activists who are detained on political grounds in relation to their activities and put an end to the political arrests.

- Ensure that clashes between the representatives of the law enforcement agencies and demonstrators are minimized and use administrative detention as a least resort in case of disobedience from the side on demonstrators

- Respects the rights of the political activists as guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution and international treaties ratified by the Georgian State.

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