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Political prisoners have their say

By Ana Robakidze
Wednesday, February 6
Political detainees, released from prisons under the Amnesty Law gathered on February 4 to introduce their demands to the parliament.

One of the major requests is the declassification of their cases, the complete social rehabilitation of former prisoners, the launch of an investigation into the prosecutors and judges who have worked on the cases and also organizing public discussions on the cases which should be aired by the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). The former political prisoners request from the parliament to launch the necessary procedures in order to present President Mikheil Saakashvili before the International court of Justice in Hague.

Gia Salukvadze, a former political detainee, said at the meeting that all individuals involved in his detention and his prosecutions will still keep their posts.

There are many questions on why the cases on political detainees have been classified as “confidential”. It is claimed that none of the information from the files is highly important and can somehow harm the state interests if made public.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuahsvili emphasized the urgency of the issue, welcoming the removal of the classified status of their cases. He said the fact that these people are now free means that the persecution of people based on political reasons is over in the country. Nanuashvili said the fact that political prisoners are now free is not the end of, but only the beginning, as they (former prisoners) need to be reintegrated back into the community.

A special parliamentary commission will also be created to study each case of former political detainees that will further become public.

Human rights defender Nana Kakabadze told Radio Liberty that cases should be declassified and details publicly available so people can know that the individuals were politically persecuted in the country. She also supports the demand of the former prisoners on starting prosecutions against those prosecutors and judges who worked on the cases and issued unlawful verdicts.