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Statement of the Human Rights House Tbilisi Member Organizations

07.03.2012

On February 28, 2012, during his annual speech in Parliament, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili referred to a student, Mikheil Aleksidze, who has been expelled from the public school # 53 as a hooligan. He said Aleksidze was expelled because of his disobedience to the school director. Saakashvili said we live in different time and criminal mentality no longer works in public schools.

Mikheil Aleksidze, 15, was expelled from the public school # 53 on October 13, 2011. The school director Tato Shavshishvili expelled him from school because of “disciplinary violation of the school regulations.” However, the director’s decision failed to note the nature of alleged violation or corroborating evidence.

Public Defender of Georgia also took interest in the case of Mikheil Aleksidze. Having studied the case materials, the Public Defender concluded that disciplinary liability was arbitrarily imposed on the pupil. Besides that, several more circumstances prove that Mikheil Aleksidze was expelled from the Public School # 53 through violation of the Georgian Law. The Public Defender’s Office sent corresponding notifications and recommendations to the Minister of Education and Science Dimitry Shashkin with regard to this case on November 28, 2012. On November 30, the Public Defender repeatedly petitioned to Dimitry Shashkin and recommended to restitute Mikheil Aleksidze’s breached right to education. 

On October 13, 2011 investigation was launched on hooliganism fact against the director of the Public School # 53 and it is still underway. The decision on expulsion of Mikheil Aleksidze has been appealed in court, where his interests will be defended by Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA).

According to the GYLA, hooliganism is a crime envisaged by the Criminal Code of Georgia and a person can be recognized as a criminal solely based on court's decision. A person is considered to be a criminal after the verdict of guilty delivered by court comes into force. By President Saakashvili's referral to Mikiheil Aleksidze as a hooligan, presumption of innocence guaranteed by Article 40 of the Constitution of Georgia was violated and rights of a juvenile were grossly violated.

In light of the fact that not only there is no legally enforced verdict of guilty against Aleksidze but he has not even been deemed as a defendant in a criminal case, we believe that the president's statement violates presumption of innocence. In addition to that, this part of the President’s Annual Address is a bad example for the rest of young people whom we teach to respect the law and not to breach human rights.

Also, it should be noted that there is an administrative proceeding underway with the request to find the illegal decision of exclusion of Aleksidze invalid. Such statements from the side of President give rise to an assumption that it might have an impact on the results of case hearings.

We also think that public hearing on the case of a juvenile and disclosure of his name is a grave violation of children’s rights both from the side of Parliamentary minority as well as the President. Particularly risky is when the state leader labels a juvenile with the status of offender. This is not only a violation of human rights but this fact might cause severe frustration and psycho trauma in 16-year-older. Label of “hooligan” and public stigmatization equals to isolation from the society. Such violent attitude towards the young person is unacceptable even in case when the individual is recognized to be an offender by court decision. Ultimately, instead of trying to prevent crimes from the side of public, state and President, the following preconditions – depriving teenager of educational space, restricting his right to education, public isolation – might have a fatal impact on his psychic, moral and social development.

Member organizations of Tbilisi Human Rights House condemn the fact of referring to a juvenile as an offender before the trial hearings and request:

Georgian President to reflect on this incident and not to violate law in future, particularly in regards with a juvenile; respect universally acknowledged human rights.

Judges of Georgian Common Courts to objectively hear case of Mikheil Aleksidze and not to fall under the influence of President’s statement.

International Organizations and Embassies Accredited in Georgia to thoroughly study and react on this case.

Member organizations of Tbilisi Human Rights House sign the statement:

Human Rights Center
Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT)
Article 42 of Constitution
Union Sapari

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Name: Pamela
2012-05-17 05:36
Scheunemann "receives no compensation of any type from Orion Strategies and has not since May 15, 2008." Scheunemann deleincd to be interviewed for this story."Oh, well, that certainly insulates him from any hint of blame - the fact that he has only been in the employ of a foreign power for no more than five months out of the calender year in which he is advising a presidential candidate on foreign policy matters pertaining to the country to which he has prostituted his services.And should McCain lose in November? Mr. Sheunemann will go right back on the foreign payroll. And should McCain win? Sheunemann may well become A deputy Secretary of State, and then after a few years, he'll leave in order to "spend more time with his family", i.e. go back to recieving large checks from foreign governments.These people need to be called what they are. Traitors."Another measure lobbied by Orion and co-sponsored by McCain, the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2006, would have authorized a $10 million grant for Georgia."In case you missed the meaning of that sentence: Senator Good Government sponsored an EARMARK to a foreign government.An earmark sent to your state for a university library or a new freeway interchange? Bad. An earmark sent to George to allow them to hire lobbyists to influence your government? Good.So, Senator "Keating 5" McCain can add hyprocrite to his list of failings. Jerk. I wish that the commies in Hanoi had kept him."testing99 said...No one is suggesting that the US go to war over Georgia, since Georgia in and of itself is not in the US interest."Yes they are, you insufferable clown. People are suggesting that they be granted membership in NATO, which would obligate us as a treaty partner to go to war over them, whether they were vital to our national interest or not. Or we could refuse to go to war over them, which would make hollow the very threat implied by NATO, and render it meaningless."Fundamentally, the US and China need cheap oil to run our economies."So what? Fundamentally, it'd be nice to run our economies on fairy dust. But neither it, nor cheap oil, exist. We would do well to handle our relations with other countries more as it was done in the 1890's. We had a better understanding of our own interest then.
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