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President Pardoned 831 Prisoners in 2017

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, January 26
(TBILISI)--President Giorgi Margvelashvili pardoned 831 prisoners in 2017, the Administration of the President of Georgia has announced.

Out of the pardoned people, 539 have already been released, while the remaining 291 saw their sentence terms decreased.

From the released 539 inmates 37 were women and two minors, while nine females and four minors have seen their prison terms decreased.

The Presidentís Pardon Commission held five meetings and discussed 5,130 cases in total last year.

Part of the civil sector, those opposing the liberal drug policy in the country, has grilled the President for pardoning many sentenced for drug-related crimes.

However, the movements supporting liberal drug policy in Georgia and the bigger part of NGOs welcomed the Presidentís decision to pardon the category of people who had been sentenced for drug consumption.

The President has not responded to the statements related to his decision over the pardon. However, he has many times stated that people should not be sent to prison for several years for personal consumption of drugs.

The President is the only person in Georgia who can pardon inmates.

The Presidentís Pardon Commission is composed of ten people and is headed by former journalist and civil activist Zviad Koridze.

The Commission members are the civil sector representatives, public figures, the ombudsman and a spiritual representative from Georgiaís Patriarchate.

The commission is obliged to discuss all cases sent to the Pardon Commission by inmates or their families and decide which prisoners they believe deserved the pardon. The list then is sent to the President.

The President makes the final decision over the pardon.