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Former employees accuse Public Defender

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 13
Former representatives of the Public Defender’s office are accusing ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili of violating their rights, partiality and negligence of his own duties. Accusations were voiced on November 11. Nanuashvili made counter accusations to his former employees the same day, dedicating a special briefing to the issue.

Natia Imnadze, who led the prison monitoring unit since 2009, was sacked by the Public Defender last week. Her deputy, Otar Kvatchadze was also dismissed. Three more employees of the unit also quit their positions protesting the dismissal of their colleagues.

Imnadze stressed that she was sacked as she made “objective assessments” concerning the ongoing situation in the prison system. She also hinted that the ombudsman might be influenced by various members of government.

Before her dismissal, Imnadze gave an interview to Liberali magazine where she commented on the criminal situation within the prison system.

“There are cases when rebellious inmates are being punished by the inmates, which are in close relationship with the prison administration. This information is new and did not appear in the Public Defender’s annual report. We tried not to criticize the new chairpersons of the prison system, as they came to power several months ago and require time to the improve situation there,” Imnadze told Liberali

She also stressed in her interview that the Public Defender’s Office has “confidetal information that many issues in prisons are solved by so-called criminal watchers instead of the prison administration.”

The public defender denied these accusations, calling them “absurd”.

Nanuashvili said that he had to sack Imnadze and her deputy after multiple warnings over their negligence, failure to observe working discipline, and the ignorance of the public defender’s instructions.

“The individuals had an extremely non-collegial attutide towards some other employees of the ombudsman’s office. They did not follow the disciplinary rules and were indifferent towards their obligations. They also made statements and interviews that aimed to discredit the actions of the public defender,” Nanuashvili said.

Nanuashvili stated that despite his multiple verbal warnings, they continued their uncoordinated work without providing information to the public defender about the situation in the penitentiary system.

Nanuashvili explained that the only reason he dismissed Imnadze and her deputy was to encourage the appropriate functioning and collegial attitude at the public defender’s office.