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President, Bar Association Sign Deal to Examine Cases of Politically Prosecuted

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, April 3
(TBILISI) - President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili and the Bar Association of Georgia have signed a deal to examine cases of the politically prosecuted people in 2005-2012, under the United National Movement (UNM) government and support the people restore violated rights.

The memorandum envisages determination of rehabilitation circumstances, allowing a person to restore the violated right to a fair trial.

Within the deal the Reserve Fund of the President of Georgia will finance the work of the Temporary Commission, which has been set up by the Executive Council of the Bar Association.

“The temporary commission will study the cases of repressed lawyers or the individuals recognized as political prisoners. The commission will prepare a conclusion and assist them to appeal to the court in order to re-examine their cases. The Commission will also assist the people to ask the Prosecutor's Office to investigate alleged offenses committed by law enforcement officials in their cases,” the President’s press office reported.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili stated that it is important that people with the status of a political prisoner have the opportunity to prove their truth.

“In 2012, parliament of Georgia established the facts of political prosecution and set a list of people who were persecuted on political grounds. Unfortunately, during these years there has not been a significant progress in this regard.

“ We have repeatedly emphasized the necessity of bringing this process to the end, but unfortunately, it has not been decided yet, I will say more, at the stage we have seen a somewhat backward process, when instead of the improvement of the judiciary system, in many cases we received appointments of persons, who caused a sincere concern in the society,” Margvelashvili stated.

The Georgian Dream ruling team has also announced possible changes in the law that will support the politically prosecuted people and prevent those individuals involved in crimes taking state posts.

However, discussions are still underway over the initiative amid the opposition’s criticism that the amendments are “populist.”

In 2012, 215 people were released with the status of political prisoner under the Georgian Dream leadership; shortly after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year rule of the United National Movement government.