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UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: “It Is Alarming that 90% of Cases End with Plea-Agreements in Courts”

It is alarming that 90% of cases end with plea-agreements in Georgian general courts. The head of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Malick El Hadji Sow made statement about it at the press-conference on June 24.

He said judges cannot reduce punishments unless it is allowed by a prosecutor. “Prosecutor is the most influential party in the negotiation process and in most cases conditions of the plea-agreements depend on them,” said Malick El Hadji Sow.

He added that in most cases, the convicted prefers to sign plea-agreement to avoid imprisonment.

“The sums accumulated from the plea-agreements are huge and very often their number amounts to several thousand GEL that is extremely large sums for local people. So, people cannot afford to pay bails and remain in custodies. It is discriminative for people,” said the head of the UN Working Group. According to him, another issue of concern is that in 99, 9% verdicts are passed against the accused.

“We are concerned by the practice of the judiciary system which does not comply with international human rights agreements ratified by the Georgian state as well as with the national legislation. The right of any person is significantly breached unless the independence of the court is guaranteed in the country,” said Malick El Hadji Sow.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions arrived in Georgia on June 15 and studied the situation on the place. The group members met governmental officials, NGO representatives and visited detention settings in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi where they received information from 160 anonymous prisoners.

After the visit, the group prepared a conclusion. The final report on the visit will be delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in March of 2012.


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