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Another Victim of Illegal Detention

Another Victim of Illegal Detention

Zurab Tchankotadze – Illegally Detained for over One Year

Abusing the rights of illegally-imprisoned Zurab Tchankotadze, former head of the Civil Aviation Department, started from the very first days of his detention. A court hearing was held a year after his initial detention, a time lapse which goes against the core principles of the UN Declaration on Human Rights accepted by Georgia, as well as the Constitution of Georgia.

Zurab Tchankotadze, former head of the Civil Aviation Department, has been held in preliminary detention centre since March 16, 2004. He is being accused of violating Article 332 of Georgian Crime Code, or abusing his duties at work. Preliminary investigation of this case was finished on August 31, 2004 and on September 20 of the same year the case was handed over to the Vake-Saburtalo District Court. However, the court hearing was held only after a year, and Zurab Tchankotadze has been officially given to justice only on March 16, 2005.

Article 18, paragraph 6 of the Georgian Constitution defines the marginal period for preliminary detention of individuals as a maximum of 9 months while in this case, nearly a year has passed after Zurab Tchankotadze’s arrest. Thus, he has been an illegal detainee since September 20, in contradiction to the Constitution of Georgia and the standards of the International Declaration of Human Rights.

Before the case was sent to the district court it had been studied by the Public Defender of Georgia, who concluded that it constituted an instance of human rights abuse. On February 11 he sent a recommendation letter to the Vake-Saburtalo district court with an appeal to put an end to the illegal detention. Only one month after his appeal did the court begin trying the case.  So far, twelve witnesses have been questioned.

According to a statement made by Gocha Svcanidze, the detainee’s counselor during the past year, Zurab Tchankotadze has been an illegal prisoner in various forms and stages. A month ago he appealed to the Strasbourg Court to be reimbursed for moral damage.

Nino Bestavashvili

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