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Public Defender criticizes Government

By Temuri Kiguradze
Wednesday, December 31
The Public Defender of Georgia, Sozar Subari, delivered a speech to the Georgian Parliament on December 30. His report mostly concerned violations of human rights in the country and imperfections in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections of early 2008.

Subari paid special attention to human rights violations observed during the dispersal of the November 2007 protest rallies in Tbilisi. The Public Defender stated that he possesses information that police officials had met before the November 7 dispersal to establish how the operation was to be conducted. According to this information source, which Subari refused to name, the police were given the order to hit protestors in the most painful areas of the body – the lower belly, kidneys and face. He also stated that the riot police had received an order “not to let a single protester go away without being beaten.”

The Ombudsman stated that he has already delivered information about this event to European human rights organizations. The Parliamentary majority demanded that Subari reveal the name of his source in the Government, threatening him with a lawsuit which would “hold the Public Defender responsible for spreading false information.”

In previous years Subari’s reports have usually been criticized by the governing party, which has accused the Public Defender of acting like “an opposition politician.” As a result Parliament passed a resolution which stated merely that it would “take note” of the report. The Parliamentary minority, however, said it had prepared an alternative draft resolution, which would be presented to Parliament in response to the Public Defender’s report. MP Giorgi Akhvlediani of the Christian Democratic Party said that the draft resolution calls on the General Prosecutor’s Office to probe into the cases of human rights violations outlined in the Public Defender’s report. The draft also requests that the General Prosecutor’s Office report its findings to Parliament.