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Human Rights Defenders Requesting Release of Political Prisoner Zaza Chakvetadze

15.12.2010

Sopo Getsadze

The member of National Forum Kakha (Zaza) Chakvetadze is still under arrest. Political parties and NGOs agreed on that Chakvetadze is a political prisoner. On December 14th the human rights defending NGOs gathered and introduced the special appeal to media in the House of Free Opinion.

The deputy head of the control service of the political union National Forum Kakha Chakvetadze was detained in Lilo at the protest rally of the LLC Elsavako market sellers. Chakvetadze was convicted of resisting policemen and hindering their work.

According to human rights defenders, the market was not closed while the protest rally was being held. Despite this, people dressed as civilians hindered participants to move. The video material taken by the TV companies Caucasia, Maestro and ITV.GE clearly demonstrates that fallen Kakha Chakhvetadze is severely beaten. Then the law enforcement officers raise him and put him in the car. Chakhvetadze obeys them and is taken to uncertain direction. The co-members of party had been looking for him the whole day long.

Tbilisi City Court Criminal Chamber sentenced him with compulsory measure – arrest on October 23, 2010. On November 2, The Investigation Chamber of the Appelate Court upheld the decision of the City Court.
Zaza Chakvetadze’s lawyers and human rights defenders consider these convictions absurd. As the lawyer Zurab Neparidze notes, the video material clearly demonstrates innocence of the convict. It even shows that Chakvetadze himself suffered – people dressed as civilians physically assaulted him, then he was arrested by the police. The lawyers confirm with video material that Chakvetadze never resisted the policemen.

Neparidze talks about the rights of defense police and emphasizes on two circumstances. According to him, it is interesting how the so-called defense policemen had right of “fulfilling the work duty” when they were dressed as civilians.

“First of all it should be noted that the people pictured in the video did not protect Lilo market till the day of protest rally. We determined that the labor contracts were made with them on the day of the protest rally October 21st, supposedly – after the incident and went into force on November 1st. Thus, the so-called defense policemen had no right to fulfil their work duties on that day. And the second, none of the policemen were dressed in the appropriate clothing and had no distinguishing sign that violates article 28 of the Law on Police and the #1633 decree of MIA issued on December 28th of 2007.”

According to the lawyer Sulkhan Kapanadze, all this documentation has already been presented to the Court. The video material that confirms Chakhvetadze’s innocence has also been presented to the Court.

According to the representative of the NGO Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights Nana Kakabadze, it is clear that Chakvetadze is arrested under political consideration after getting acquainted with his case. The members of Young Lawyers Association confirm this as well and add that the case has been artificially hardened since the resistance to police activity and hindering their work is more an administrative violation and not a crime of criminal nature.

The concrete recommendations were observed in the frameworks of the meeting. As Nana Kakabadze notes the cases of the political prisoners must be transferred to Council of Europe: “For instance, more than 700 cases have been transferred to Council of Europe by Azerbaijan. Out of this number 7 people were acknowledged to be political prisoners. As for the rest, the special representatives were sent to Azerbaijan to study their case. It is necessary to share this experience. We need to transfer those cases to Council of Europe that clearly and expressly shows the arrest by political consideration. Chakvetadze case is distinctive in this regard. It is evident what is going on here.”

The case filed against Zaza Chakvetadze will be heard on December 16 in Tbilisi City Court. The preliminary session is planned on this day where the judge must evaluate the evidence presented by the defense side.
According to Eka Beselia, the Chair of Solidarity to Illegal Prisoners, it is necessary to monitor the trials and have a constant contact with international organizations. “It would be good if the international organizations attend the trials. Internal and external pressure will influence the Court to make correct decision,” – noted Beselia.

The meeting at House of Free Opinion was attended by the NGOs: Human Rights Priority, Human Rights Center, Article 42 of Constitution, Transparency International Georgia, Solidarity to Illegal Prisoners, Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights, International Republican Institute and the representative of public defender.

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