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Public Defender releases his annual report

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, April 3
Public Defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili criticized the Prosecutor’s Office for uninvestigated criminal cases, as well as the Ministry of Corrections for providing inappropriate conditions for prisoners.

Nanuashvili also said that a lot of calls have been received about the ill-treatment of prisoners, and appealed to the appropriate bodies to establish a special investigatory body to look into the alleged violations committed by law-enforcement.

The statements came after his 2014 annual report about Human Rights.

The document contains more than 900 pages, describing positive and negative tendencies in various fields and recommendations.

According to the report, the inhumane treatment of prisoners is not of a systemic nature. However, the number of complaints by prisoners to the Ombudsman has increased in 2014 compared to 2013. The ombudsman recommends the closure of prison no. 7 due to its poor conditions. In response, the ministry of corrections stresses that a new prison is being constructed, and only after could the prison be closed.

Nanuashvili’s report reads that some death cases of prisoners still remain uninvestigated, and his office has no information concerning the pace of the investigations.

Nanuashvili also stresses that his powers should be broadened, and his employees should be granted the right to photograph and to film in prisons.

The public defender also emphasized the excessive use of force by law enforcement. According to him, most law enforcement officials were not punished after committing crimes.

“In many cases, law-enforcement officials refrain from informing on their colleagues. That is why a special body is necessary in this regard,” Nanuashvili said.

The ombudsman focused on old and new uninvestigated cases, such as Erosi Kitsmarishvili’s, Iuri Vazagashvili’s, and Beso Khardziani’s death cases and demanded a fast and effective investigation.

He stressed that Vazagashvili’s murder might have been related to the lingering investigation of his son’s death under the previous government.

Concerning the Cable Case, where several Defense Ministry employees are accused of misspending budgetary funds, Nanuashvili said that there was no need to classify the documents over the case.

Nanuashvili also paid attention to the lack of worker safety standards. In response, Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said that inspectors are being trained and the ministry is busy with finding solutions to the problem with international experts.

In conclusion, Nanuashvili said that the situation with regard to human rights is better compared to past years, as lots of amendments have been brought into the country’s legislations. His report is likely to be discussed in parliament in May.