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Human Rights Center Addresses to the Parliament of Georgia to Grant Status to Political Prisoners

21.02.2013

Salome Chkheidze

“FIDH concludes as a result of analysis of the aforementioned cases that there are political prisoners in Georgia…” FIDH made this conclusion after having analyzed cases of eight former prisoners though these people have not yet received status of political prisoner. Soon, Human Rights Center intends to petition to the Parliament of Georgia on granting the status to former political prisoners.

Maya Topuria is one of those people, whose cases were studied by the FIDH. She was arrested under the charge of high treason together with 13 more people in 2006. The case was about plotting assassination of two law enforcement ministers and isolation of the chairman of the parliament.

“We were accused of having held a session where we made this decision; however, in the time of alleged session those people were in different regions of Georgia. Our trial was closed in order not to make this absurd accusation public. Many organizations recognized our case to be politically motivated; it was mentioned as a case of political prisoners in the report of the US Congress but as you see we still do not have this status,” Maya Topuria said at the press-conference.

Executive director of Human Rights Center Aleko Tskitishvili said the list of political prisoners is not complete and there are some more people who have not received the status yet. These are those former prisoners, who were released from prison before the Law on Amnesty was passed and political prisoners were released. So, they remained without the status. FIDH analyzed the cases on Maya Topuria, Nora Kvitsiani, Omar Kutsnashvili, Shalva Ramishvili, Merab Ratishvili, Joni Jikia, Demur Antia and Revaz Kldiashvili and concluded that “political motive was detected in their cases completely or partly.”

“Both international and local nongovernmental organizations have confirmed that those people are political prisoners; they were mentioned in the reports of the Georgian Public Defender. We, Human Rights Center believe that the state shall grant status of political prisoner to these people too and issue of their rehabilitation and compensation shall be raised,” said Aleko Tskitishvili.

Nora Kvitsiani did not apply for any pardon during her imprisonment but was released from prison 2 months earlier than her term expired; consequently, she remained without the status of a political prisoner.

“I did not expect that I would have to complain about it. Hopefully, they would not ignore our internationally recognized status. Investigation into my case lasted 2 years; a special commission was established and they concluded that my detention was politically motivated,” Kvitsiani said.

Aleko Tskitishvili said a special commission shall be established to study cases of political prisoners who were released from prison before the Law on Amnesty went in force for what the parliament did not discuss their status.

“Soon we will petition to the Human Rights and Legal Committees of the Parliament of Georgia to prepare legislative initiative based on which these people will receive status, rehabilitation process will be speeded up and compensations will be granted. We believe the state shall implement this obligation,” executive director of Human Rights Center said.

He added that the working group shall studied cases of those people who were mentioned in the reports of the US State Department, different international and local qualified organizations, Public Defender and other authoritative reports at different times.

Nora Kvitsiani and Maya Topuria state that Parliament of Georgia shall make a political statement by recognizing the people mentioned in the FIDH’s report to be political prisoners and confirm that there were some other political prisoners in the country besides those, who were released under amnesty and had either completely served the term or were early released under different acts. Only one out of eight people – Merab Ratishvili – was released from imprisonment under status of a political prisoner. However, the cases mentioned in the FIDH’s report shall be studied by the court as privileged ones in order to speed up the rehabilitation process.

As Aleko Tskitishvili said, after the Law on Amnesty went in force and political prisoners were released, several former political prisoners applied to Human Rights Center for solicitation. In the process of studying their cases, the Center detected necessity of urgent measures to be taken by the state.

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