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Public Defender supports prisoners' rights 'without exception'

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, April 8
Public Defender Giorgi Tugushi addressed the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MIA) with his recommendations on April 7. The Special Preventive Group of the Public Defender’s Office met persons serving administrative sentences in prison in March this year. The three detainees with 10-20 day imprisonment worried that their right to take a one-hour walk had been restricted at the temporary detention centre where they could not even take a shower or talk with the press. One of the detainees Giorgi Kharabadze also claimed that his demand to see the doctor had only been satisfied after a three day wait.

In his Parliamentary reports the Public Defender has consistently been pointing out the lack of infrastructural opportunities at the temporary detention centres which fail to exercise the rights of persons sentenced to administrative imprisonment both under international standards and local norms. Worrying about the violations carried out by the prison administration towards the prisoners, the Public Defender stated that persons sentenced to administrative imprisonment should enjoy all the rights of convicts without any exception. “Accordingly, they should not only enjoy the right to take an everyday walk, but also meet their family members or have phone conversations to keep in touch with the outside world, which the Georgian legislation doesn’t unfortunately ensure,” he said in his statement.

Welcoming adoption of the Approval of the Typical Regulations, Routine and Additional Instruction Regulations the Temporary Detention Isolators of the MIA, Tugushi worried of the obvious inconsistency of particular dispositions of the Order with the international values. Considering the aforementioned circumstances the Public Defender addressed the Government of Georgia with a recommendation to ensure the creation of special establishments for persons sentenced to administrative imprisonment which will be adapted to long-term incarceration considering the regional principle.

Moreover the Public Defender addressed Vano Merabishvili, Minister of Internal Affairs with a recommendation to ensure the exercise of all those rights of the persons sentenced to administrative imprisonment as well as to ensure the issuance of a new normative act which will reflect all the rights of detainees/prisoners.

Meanwhile the Pardon Commission has started discussing the cases of around 300 prisoners with all types of sentences for Easter pre term release. As Public Defender Tugushi told the media, the official list of detainees is usually sent to Commission several days before the session. “The exact date for the session isn’t yet known but the detainees are being traditionally released for Easter. I hope that the pre Easter mood would be the basis for more prisoners to return to their families,” Tugushi stated.

Elene Tevdoradze, Chairwoman of the Pardon Commission has already addressed President Mikheil Saakashvili with the request to settle on the session's date. “We have prepared separate lists of around 300 prisoners and ten under aged detainees and women. We are ready for the session but lots of cases definitely won’t be discussed,” Tevdoradze said explaining that those with a negative review from the jail administration or those who have not served the relevant sentence cannot be considered for early release.