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Sacking of Teacher from Zemo Bodbe on Political Grounds

14.02.2008
 
 Nestan Londaridze, lawyer
Makvala Macharashvili, a teacher in the village of Zemo Bodbe in Sighnaghi District, was fired from job for the second time in 2005. The official reason for her dismissal was missing many of her scheduled lessons. Although she returned to her job based on the court decision, the school administration does not allow her to teach. 

Makvala Macharashvili worked as a director of the Zemo Bodbe Secondary School for many years. She resigned for the first time on November 12 2004, which is just after when there was a change in governments. However, the woman was still discriminated against while she continues to work as a teacher of mathematics. On March 23 2005 Makvala Macharashvili was then fired on the basis of having missed too many lessons.

Lawyers for the Human Rights Center provided Macharashvili with legal assistance. Nestan Londaridze, the lawyer, stated that her client demanded to have her job back. Also, that she be provided with salary arrears for the time she was not allowed to work. 

“Makvala Macharashvili’s legal appeal before the Gurjaani District Court was satisfied. However, the school administration then appealed the court’s decision.  Although the lawyer did not have a corresponding certificate during the court hearing, a petition was made for the judge to disqualify the opposing attorney from the case on grounds that he did not have the paperwork showing that he was representing the respondent.

The judge satisfied our mediation and the lawyer was not allowed to participate.  Consequently, they passed the decision without the attendance of the opposite side, and allowed the decision of the lower court to stand. It was confirmed that Makvala Macharashvili had right to continue working as a teacher of math. The school administration was then charged with paying arrears for the missed months she was not allowed back in the classroom. Makvala Macharashvili then returned to school with the court decision in her hand.”

However, she was not welcomed back as the school’s administration would not let the teacher to conduct lessons. She was sent away after two days back on the job.  She says, “I returned to the school on January 28 and they told me that I had to start lessons from on February 1. On February 1 they showed me the schedule of my lessons and I had to give lessons in the 6th and 7th forms. I managed to conduct lessons only on the 4th and 5th of February. These lessons are recorded in the teacher plan book. Moreover, they requested me to produce the copy of the court verdict because their lawyer had taken their copies to Tbilisi. I brought the copies on February 6. Although they took the court decision I was still not allowed to conduct lessons because they had not written an order for my reappointment. Consequently, they would not allow me to continue giving lessons without the requested order. I inquired when I was supposed to have right to start working and they replied only after the court provides an order.  I arrived at the school yesterday but they did not let me in the lessons either. The administration members told me they do not know how to write the order and tried to comfort me because despite the situation I would still be receiving my salary.’

Teacher of the Zemo Bodbe Secondary School claims that relationship with pupils is much more important than the wages.  She is emotional stressed because she is not allowed to give lessons at school.“They have completely destroyed me. It is village and everybody knows me. People were congratulating me when they accepted me at the job. But what shall I tell those people now?”

Makvala Macharashvili considers that she has problems because she actively supported Levan Gachechiladze, presidential candidate from the United Opposition, during the presidential elections. All of her family was actively involved in the campaign in support of Gachechiladze election.  Consequently, her husband and daughter have also become the victims of political suppression.

The lawyer from the Human Rights Center said that the Executive Bureau is in charge to execute the verdict under penalty of law. If the school administration tries to resist the a rightful order for a second time,  Nestan Londaridze will appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office for further action as it would be contempt of court .

Nona Suvariani, Tbilisi

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