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Issue of suspended sentences under question

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 27
The Ministry of the Penitentiary and Corrections claims that the removal of suspended sentences for all the convicts is impossible. A statement concerning the issue was made by the first deputy Minister of the Penitentiary, Giga Giorgadze on November 26.

Giorgadze has touched upon the issue while commenting on the Draft on Amnesty. According to him, amnesty will not concern the suspended sentence directly.

“Based on the amnesty principles, it cannot affect the suspended sentences. It should not be written down in the legislation that the charged individuals should be free from suspended sentences. However, if a sentence is removed from someone, they will be automatically be freed from the suspended sentence,” Giorgadze said.

Giorgadze also emphasized that in the case that the Draft on Amnesty is confirmed as it is now without some additional changes, 22 000 probationers will be released from their suspended sentences.

The Deputy Minister has also explained that based on the current draft, those individuals who committed lighter crimes will be released through amnesty.

“[This would apply to] crimes that did not result in someone’s death and there are nearly 22 000 probationers in such circumstances,” Giorgadze underscored.

Giorgadze also stated concerning those individuals who will not be released through the amnesty program and for whom the suspended sentences will not be removed.

“There is an appropriate commission within the ministry. Those people who obey the rules and are positively described will be released from their suspended sentences,” Giorgadze highlighted.

The opposition claims that mass amnesty is required in the country. However, the criteria should be studied well.

According to UNM MP, Davit Darchiashvili, in any normal state, inmates’ cases are deeply studied and the decisions concerning their release are made afterwards.

“We believe that amnesty is needed; however, the criteria needs to be studied again,” Darchiashvili stated, adding that the criminal situation has already worsened in the country.

“If the situation proceeds like this, people will not feel safe either at home or in prisons,” Darchiashvili underscored.

According to Lawyer, Gela Nikolaishvili, the previous government has committed crimes against prisoners and they should be given compensation for this. “The new government is responsible for improving the things that had been wrongly done by their predecessors. The amnesty program will be a type of compensation towards the inmates from the state’s side,” Nikolaishvili stated.

Analyst, Nika Chitadze states that the criminal situation will worsen in Georgia after the amnesty.

According to him, the current government is trying to protect prisoners and call them political inmates. “However, there are lots of prisoners that are sentenced for hard crimes in Georgian prisons, letting the criminals out will change the situation negatively,” Chitadze stated.