23:54, Saturday, 06.06.2020
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Being Batumi Resident Became Ground for Compulsory Measure


Maka Malakmadze, Adjara

Judge Arsen Kalatozishvili at the Tbilisi City Court imposed imprisonment on the employees of the Khelvachauri Civil Registration Agency arrested under the charge of professional negligence on April 14. The judge clarified that detainees live close to Turkey and they can easily travel there and disappear.

Substantiation of the judge is the following: “It is also noteworthy that accused people live in Batumi, coastline region, from where they can easily travel to Turkey without visa; so they can leave Georgia to escape the punishment.”

It is noteworthy that every citizen of Georgia enjoys visa-free travelling right to Turkey and it is not exclusive only for Batumi residents. So, the judge’s substantiation astonished nongovernmental organizations and attorneys of the detainees. They assessed his statement as discrimination and believe similar approach to Adjara population places them in unequal conditions with the residents of other regions of Georgia.

Geno Geladze, chairman of the executive council at the nongovernmental organization Democracy Institute: “Visa-free traveling with Turkey is not exclusive right only for Batumi residents; everyone in Georgia has this right. Unfortunately, Batumi residents became victims of evident discrimination. It is incredible fact.”

Lela Bzhalava, member of Consultation Council on Gender Issues, lawyer: “Judge Arsen Kalatozishvili considered the fact that accused people were from Batumi, who can easily travel to Turkey and escape punishment. It is incredible to impose imprisonment on the detainees because they are Batumi residents. The case materials also show that employees of the CRA did not commit crime and there were no legal grounds to arrest them. Negligence is not grave enough crime, to impose pretrial imprisonment on Ms. Ekaterina Kartsivadze, who has underage child.”

“The prosecutor’s statement does not prove that my client had breached any legal act, which obliged him to do something but did not do,” Lawyer Irakli Shavadze said. “The detainees were accused of less grave crime. According to current practice, courts do not use imprisonment as compulsory measure even for grave crimes. So, prosecutor’s solicitation and Judge Arsen Kalatozishvili’s decision were absolutely unacceptable for us.”

In accordance to the statement of the General Inspection at the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with village attorneys, land measuring companies prepared faked documents and drafts through neglecting all legal requirements as a result of what employees of the Khelvachauri CRA illegally registered beds of Chorokhi and Adjaristskali Rivers, isles in the groves. Citizens sold illegally registered isles, the state properties, to the companies constructing hydro electro stations.

On April 26, relatives and civil society organized solidarity demonstration in Batumi to support of detained Ekaterine Kartsivadze, Davit Gorgiladze and Roman Zoidze.

Court has scheduled next trial on the CRA employees’ case on May 28. If the accusation is proved, the detainees might be imprisoned for three years.  
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