Are There Political Prisoners in Georgia?
08 September, 2011
Are There Political Prisoners in Georgia?

“It will take time before international organizations get down to this point”

According to local non-governmental organizations, the number of political prisoners in Georgia has increased to 100 since the spring protest rallies. Lawyer Gela Nikolaishvili says that most of them were accused of carrying and storing weapons or drugs illegally or resisting the police. 

Member of Conservative Party Lasha Chkhartishvili insists that today the number of political prisoners exceeds 100 and their existence is acknowledged by such international organizations as International

Federation of Human Rights.

Nikolaishvili says that the number and status of people detained since the spring protest rallies are confirmed by local non-governmental organizations. However, the work with international NGOs is underway. Time is needed for the examination of the issue.

“During the spring events up to 500 persons were arrested. Over 100 of them were subjected to administrative court penalties. When the matter concerns political prisoners, it implies mostly those who were persecuted at criminal courts. Although most of them were punished by administrative proceedings, they were recognized as political prisoners by local NGOs during the period of their detention. Certain time must pass before the matter finds its way to the discussion agenda of international organizations. As for the people persecuted for criminal charges, they number several dozens. At this stage, they are viewed as political prisoners. Most of them were accused of carrying and storing weapons illegally or carrying drugs or resisting the police. I mean the people arrested in connection of the spring events. For example, during the Batumi protest rally, 8 people were snatched away. Certain work must be done to convince international community that these people are political prisoners. Local NGOs are studying these cases. The material is gathered by a special commission where we get acquianted with it, listen to arguments and scrutinize the material. We maintain active contacts with lawyers of an international organization and submit these cases to them too. We bypass the cases of those people who chose so called procedural settlement because by doing so they actually admitted their crimes. Currently, some 100 people are considered as political prisoners. Their number fluctuates all the time. Some leave the prison; others are newly arrested and so on. Around 40 people out of these 100 are the persons arrested after the spring events,” says Gela Nikolaishvili.

Conservative Lasha Chkhartishvili points out that existence of political prisoners in Georgia confirms the fact that the country is plunged in authoritarianism.

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