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Joint Statement of Political Parties and Civil Society about the Case of Meskhi, Amashukeli and Ambroladze

11.06.2012
On June 10, 2012 a group of human rights studied the criminal case materials on Meskhi, Ambroladze and Amashukeli’s detention and concluded:

Essence of Accusation:

1. Investigation of Meskhi, Amashukeli and Ambroladze’s Case was launched on June 7, 2012 and they were charged under Article 1641 (bribery of voters) of the Criminal Code of Georgia and sentenced to two-month pretrial detention.

According to the accusation, the detainees were distributing booklets (so called “dream letters”) as members of the political coalition Georgian Dream in Kutaisi and offered people to express their support to the Coalition in exchange of their requests (material benefits) and promised to realize their dreams. Namely, several respondents told the TV-Company “Rustavi 2” that their requirements (ex. washing machine) might be realized.

Political Motive

2. At the moment of detention the young people were members of the youth branch of political party “Georgian Dream”.

Law Violations

3. In fact, voters were not bribed because young people were just distributing booklets and it is not estimated that they offered or gave any material benefits in exchange of support. Moreover, society is aware that thousands of similar “letters” were distributed in Georgia and the content of this event was similar everywhere and it is unclear why it could be exception only in one city.

As for TV-statement of the accused, it was reply of inexperienced respondents to journalist’s provocation and their interpretation of the action that is known as “Mere Accusation” in the Criminal Law and is not punishable unless declared “criminal” action does not take place in reality.

4. The accused are not subject of this crime at all. They just distributed agitation materials, so called “dream letters”, and collected filled in letters. Moreover, they could not bribe voters, even if they wished it (because they did not have relevant resource). So, if the prosecutor’s office considers distribution of Dream Letters as a bribery, the person who gives money or organizes this action can be criminal offender instead distributors of booklets.

5. The particular article of the Criminal Code of Georgia, under what Mikheil Amashukeli, Gaga Ambroladze and Mikheil Meskhi were charged for, went into force on December 16 of 2005 (its formulation was amended on May 8, 2012), however, nobody has applied to this provision in practice though several elections took place in Georgia since its adoption in 2005 – local self-governmental elections on October 5, 2006, snap presidential elections on January 5, 2008, parliamentary elections of May 21, 2008, self-governmental elections of May 30, 2010 and several interim elections.

Several facts of voters’ bribery by President Mikheil Saakashvili and by representatives of the Unified National Movement were detected during those elections: in the frame of pre-election campaign candidates of the Unified National Movement gave expensive presents, products, medicines and vouchers to voters, but none of these facts were responded and offenders were not arrested for the bribery of voters. Consequently, the content of this article was discriminatively interpreted in this particular case.

In this light, the below-signed believe that Mikheil Meskhi, Mikheil Amashukeli and Gaga Ambroladze are political prisoners.

Lali Aptsiauri, Commonwealth of Prisoners
Keti Bekauri
Zaza Davitaia
Nana Kakabadze, Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights
June 10, 2012

Below-signed political parties support the abovementioned conclusion and request release of political prisoners

Nino Burjanadze, Democratic Movement
Kakha Kukava, Free Georgia
Temur Shashiashvili, the Whites
Jondi Bagaturia, Georgian Dasi
Akaki Asatiani, Union of Traditionalist

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