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President to pardon just 70

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, August 23
At the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili’s residence on August 22 the Pardon Commission presented positive recommendations for around 70 prisoners. 50 inmates will be released while the remaining 20 will have their sentences reduced by half. “From the 2000 appeals submitted only 230 appeared to fully match the criteria of the Pardon Commission. Among the cases are those of 12 juveniles and 17 women prisoners, which will be considered,” Elene Tevdoradze, Head of the Pardon Commission told the media. The meeting decided that only a quarter of the 230 prisoners met the relevant criteria. “We discussed the cases of those first-time offenders who had been given positive character reports by the prison administration,” stated Marika Verulashvili, member of the Pardon Commission.

So few juvenile offenders received recommendations as the commission members disagreed about their cases. According to the information released by the meeting members, the majority of the twelve juveniles who had applied for clemency had been imprisoned for serious crimes that were inevitably inadmissible to the commission. “The commission does not generally consider cases involving serious crime but we used to make exceptions in special cases,” Nino Kalandadze, another Commission member told the media stressing such cases included poor health or family conditions, a dangerous diagnosis or the overload of the prisons. As for the woman detainees, the commission gave recommendations for release for only 6 out of the 17.

As is the annual custom, the prisoners recommended by the Pardon Commission will be released by President Saakashvili on the day of Virgin Mary – August 28.