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With the Legal Advocacy of Human Rights Center Giorgi Okropiridze Was Acquitted in the So-Called False Denunciation Case

15.11.2017

 
With legal advocacy of Human Rights Center, the Tbilisi City Court acquitted the convicted Giorgi Okropiridze in the so-called false denunciation case.

Initially Giorgi Okropiridze was accused of the murder into a resonant criminal case. After the court investigated his case, several days before the pre-trial imprisonment term was due to expire, the prosecutor’s office issued a completely new charge on Okropiridze and accused him of false denunciation and false testimony and sentenced him to a new pre-trial imprisonment. This particular decision of the prosecutor’s office raised a doubt that the new charge was issued to prolong his pre-trial imprisonment.

It is noteworthy that similar approach from the side of the prosecutor’s office and problem was observed in the case of Gigi Ugulava, former Tbilisi City Mayor; several days before his 9-month pre-trial imprisonment was due to expire the prosecutor’s office issued a new charge on him too. 

Before the new charge, on June 5, 2015, the court jury failed to pass a verdict on Giorgi Okropiridze into the murder case. Several days later, his nine-months pre-trial imprisonment was due to expire and consequently he would have left the jail. However, two days later, on June 8, the prosecutor’s office accused him of false denunciation and the court again sentenced him to pre-trial imprisonment. The new jury found Giorgi Okropiridze guilty in the murder case and the court sentenced him to 20-year imprisonment.

More precisely, the new charge about the so-called false denunciation was connected with his explanation testimony to the Public Defender in Batumi prison # 3, when the prisoner complained about inhuman and degrading treatment and blamed senior administration members of the jail in his beating. Based on the Public Defender’s proposal, prosecutor’s office commenced an investigation into alleged inhuman treatment of Giorgi Okropiridze and dropped it two weeks later because of absence of crime signs. However, 8 months later, when nine-month pre-trial imprisonment term was about to expire into another criminal case, a new charge was imposed on Okropiridze for false denunciation and false testimony. According to the prosecutor’s office allegation, the personnel of the Batumi prison # 3 had not inhumanly treated the inmate and the convicted had made false denunciation when giving false testimony to the investigation. 

With regard to the so-called false denunciation, Human Rights Center fully shares the position of the Public Defender of Georgia, who said that information on a fact of torture or ill-treatment that had been communicated to the Public Defender of Georgia cannot be directed at and used against an individual/prisoner or cannot serve as a basis for starting criminal prosecution against this person.  

In his statement the Ombudsman relies on the article 21 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Torture, or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, “no authority or official shall order, apply, permit or tolerate any sanction against any person or organization for having communicated to the national preventive mechanism any information, whether true or false, and no such person or organization shall be otherwise prejudiced in any way”. 

Tbilisi City Court held 70 hearings and were interrogated up to 200 witnesses into the so-called false denunciation case; absolute majority of the interrogated witnesses were personnel of the prisons # 3 and # 8; their testimonies were clearly partial.

Finally, on November 10, the Tbilisi City Court acquitted convicted Giorgi Okropiridze in the charge on false denunciation and false testimony.

Head of the legal aid service at Human Rights Center Tamar Avaliani represented Giorgi Okropiridze in front of the Tbilisi City Court. 

Human Rights Center 

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