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Change of life sentences in Georgia?

By Keti Arjevanidze
Tuesday, November 6
The Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani commented on the probable decrease in life in prison sentences in Georgia on November 2. The minister stated that Georgia has not strictly and clearly determined the politics about life imprisonment. According to her people who are sentenced to life in prison, there is a need for special penitentiary politics, which as the minister explains, now doesn't exist. Tsulukiani mentioned the probability of change in the future.

"It doesn't mean that all those sentenced to life in prison will be released early– especially if their crimes were heinous enough to warrant such a sentence. However, in many cases in Georgia, the prisoners who have been sentenced to life in prison, the punishment does not fit the crime," explained Tsulukiani.

Throughout the whole region of the Caucasus, only in Georgia can women serve the sentence of life in prison. Among the inmates sentenced to life are four women, who have been blamed for selling drugs. In Rustavi's N6 prison, there are 91 inmates serving life terms. This number dates from 2000, which is when PRI's last research was determined.

Murder, trafficking, sabotage, genocide, premeditated terrorist attacks, this makes up the incomplete list of offenses that can receive life sentences.

Advocate Archil Kaikatsishvili said that in Georgia "life imprisonment statistically is terrible. There is not a mechanism that exists that can review the cases of these people," he explained. He added that there is a European Council recommendation that encourages the reduction of life sentences. According to the law, only the president is able to make decisions to change life imprisonment rules. Also, it is possible to release an inmate who has already served a sentence of 25 years of imprisonment, but this did not affect any of the prisoners in Georgia.

Tsulukiani explained that life in prison sentences mustn't be abolished, "because it is the supreme sort of punishment in our country, which in some cases is necessary...