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NGOs address personal data file systems

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 10
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office stated that the former First Deputy Interior Minister, Gela Khvedelidze, has left Georgia; however he has already returned. Khvedelidze, who is charged with infringing on personal or family secrets, involving the leak of a secretly recorded sex video of journalist and Georgian Dream youth wing member, Giorgi Paresishvili, was released on bail on May 15th. The Chief Prosecutor claims that leaving the country was a legal step. However, Transparency International Georgia (TI) can see how Khvedelidze’s departure could raise some suspicion.

Chief Prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili stated that Kvedelidze had permission from law-enforcement bodies to leave the country. Thus Khvedelidze used that right, but currently he is in Georgia.

“If Khvedelidze left the country based on the permission of the appropriate structures the fact can not be taken as a violation of bail rules. However, the fact itself arises some suspicion: the Prosecutor’s Office had demanded the detention as a preventive measure, there was some concern that Khvedelidze might commit another crime, to destroy certain materials or put pressure on witnesses.

“We appeal to the legal bodies to be consistent in their actions and not act in a way that would be construed as selective justice,” the NGO statement reads. TI Georgia was also concerned about the crime Khvedelidze is charged with and demanded that the video materials that were filmed during the governance of the former administration to blackmail people be destroyed.

“The maintenance of such materials not only violates Georgian law along with international principles, but also infringes upon fundamental human rights,” TI Georgia states. The organization believes that the preservation of such materials in the government's hands may serve the desire to use them for “political purposes.”

“Obviously, suspicions arise in cases where unlawfully recorded materials and disclosing the details of an individual’s private life, may be abused by special services for blackmailing citizens and pressuring political opponents during the election campaign period,” TI’s statement reads.

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) presented "Monitoring of the Introduction of Personal Data Filing Systems in Georgian Ministries," which details the results of its research regarding the government’s data filing systems. The report examines the progress of Georgian Ministries in implementing personal data filing systems, as stipulated by the Personal Data Protection Legislation of Georgia.

The GYLA requested information from all ministries about their personal data filling system and filing system catalogue. The results of the research revealed the following issues: The Personal Data Protection Inspector position remains vacant; a majority of ministries lack data filing systems or data filing system catalogues; the data filing systems in place at some ministries fall short of their legislative requirements; certain ministries misunderstand the obligation of having the filing system or the filing system catalogue, relating it to the appointment of the Personal Data protection Inspector.

Interior Minister, Irakli Gahribashvili, says that the decision and the procedures, according to which the archive will be deleted, must be scrupulously discussed along with consultations with experts and only afterwards, the final decision will be made.

”Independent experts have expressed their opinion that the destruction of these materials may not be entirely reasonable. However, we have a desire to hold consultations with these experts in order to agree on the final decision, Gharibashvili said. Certain analysts state that in the case that the archive is destroyed, the court might be left without evidence against those individuals who had created the illegal materials.