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Early release might concern 3,500 inmates

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, November 29
Nearly 3,500 inmates might be released early. A statement concerning the issue was made by the Minister of Penitentiary and Corrections, Sozar Subari, on November 28.

According to Subari, lots of factors are taken into consideration during when weighing the cases; this includes recidivism (the risk of a prisoner committing more crimes in the future) and also the individual's behaviors while they were incarcerated.

The majority MP, Koba Davitashvili has prepared a parliamentary initiative which will be represented to the Parliament. Through this initiative, if an amnestied person commits a crime after leaving the prison, the punishment will be more severe than it would be in other cases.

“Speaking on suspended sentences for such individuals will be excluded as well,” Davitashvili said, adding that the initiative serves the public safety and stability.

According to the parliamentary minority, the amnesty issue is not as deeply studied by the majority as it should be.

"We are not against large scale amnesty. However, the amnesty criteria is to be studied again,” MP Davit Darchiashvili said, adding that the public preparing for an increased crime rate after the amnesty is unacceptable.

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) has also appealed to the government to pay more attention to the issue and to be careful when selecting the crimes that will be amnestied.

Interior Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili thinks that the criminal rate will not increase after the amnesty. According to him, several types of crimes increased after the elections such as petty hooliganism and robbery however, the increase was imposed due to the process of power transition when law enforcement structures could not function as they should.

“The power transition process has concluded and staff changes have already been carried out, the Interior Ministry has acted appropriately,” Gharibashvili said.

Gharibashvili also underscored that he was very critical concerning the amnesty.

“Our position was too critical and we maximally assessed all those articles which might be amnestied. I am sure that all our remarks will be taken into consideration, an optimal version of the draft will be elaborated with minimal risk factors,” the MIA head stated.

Statements were also made concerning the list of possible political prisoners. According to the members of the working group studying the issues of possible political inmates they will conclude the process on December 5 and on December 5 they will represent the list at the Parliament’s plenary session.

“More than 300 cases were brought to the working group. We are studying the cases. The list will be united and it will include both political inmates and politically persecuted individuals,” Levan Chitadze, the group representative said.

The head of Parliament’s Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, Eka Beselia has also responded to GYLA’s critical statements concerning the issue. GYLA has emphasized that studying the cases of possible political prisoners is being done superficially and might damage Georgia’s international image.

“I cannot accept such statements from the GYLA despite my respect towards the organization. I ask them to be more careful while making such accusations. We have to work on the cases until late at night,” Beselia said.