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US State Department’s Report about the Khorava street murders, murder of the human rights defender and physical assault of the lawyer


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 of the US State Departmentreviews the cases of the Khorava street teenage murder case, murder of human rights defender Vitali Safarov and violence against the lawyer Giorgi Mdinaradze by police officers. In these cases, Human Rights Center defends interests of the victims in front of the investigative bodies and common courts of Georgia. 

The US State Department published its 2018 Country Reports on March 13. The document reviews the state of human rights and general environment in the countries across the world, including Georgia; it evaluates major challenges in different fields.

With regard to the Khorava street murder case of December 2017, the US State Department states that impartial and effective investigation was not ensured. The Report based on the conclusion of the temporary investigative commission of the Parliament of Georgia, which was headed by the opposition, states that the investigation was compromised in favor of former influential Prosecutor’s Office official Mirza Subeliani. It adds that the temporary commission also accused former Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze of either “negligence” or “abuse of power.” 

The Report describes procedural miscarriages in the course of detention, which significantly violate human rights. In this regard, the US State Department mentions the case of the lawyer Giorgi Mdinaradze, HRC beneficiary. The report notes that the fair judgment over the 2015 case was passed only in 2018, when the Supreme Court concluded that the abuse of power included violence and sentenced Kvirkaia, former head of the Saburtalo district police unit N5 to five years in prison on October 26.

The Report mentions the case of the minority rights activist Vitali Safarov, who was killed by Neo-Nazi group members and adds that the prosecutor’s office changed the qualification of the criminal case after the human rights organizations called on the prosecution to change the qualification as it was the crime committed based on hate motives. 

The US State Department’s Report shares the critical views of Human Rights Center and other NGOs with regard to existing problems, which are related with the violation of human rights in Georgia. Among them, the US State Department touches upon the challenges in the judiciary system, quality of independence of individual judges, and activities of the High Council of Justice. The Report evaluates the resignation of the chairperson of the Supreme Court of Georgia as an example of political oppression, existence of informal clan rule and malicious practice of life-term appointment of judges that was criticized by the Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary. 

Safety issues raise particular concern in relation with human rights. Arbitrary detentions and killings of the citizens by Russian and de-facto officers alongside the administrative boarders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia are alarming; although the international law and the Constitution prohibit torture and other inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment or punishment, these facts were observed in the occupied territories of Georgia, as well as restricted rights to property and freedom of movement. 

Human Rights Center 

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