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President Pardons 143 Inmates, Including People with Drug Addiction

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, May 25
The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili pardoned 143 inmates out of which 84 will leave prisons immediately and the rest 59 will see their sentences reduced.

Zviad Koridze, chairperson of the Pardon Commission, said among the pardoned convicts there are women and the prisoners who committed crimes when they were underage.

“There are also people with drug problems but we had to postpone consideration of 216 convicts’ applications due to the moratorium of the president on violent crimes. We will discuss these cases when the moratorium expires,” he added.

The ruling Georgian Dream MPs have many times criticized Margvelashvili for pardoning many convicts.

Earlier this month, when the president was delivering his annual report in the parliament, the leader of the GD faction Mamuka Mdinaradze directly accused Margvelashvili of pardoning too many convicts.

“About 70-80% of the convicts pardoned by you had been convicted for serious crimes… All Presidents of independent Estonia have pardoned ten times fewer than you did in 2017 alone,” he told the President.

The party also criticized the president for pardoning Vepkhia Bakradze, 45, who killed his stepdaughter Tamar Gamrekelashvili right after police issued a restraining order against him in late April. He stabbed the young woman several times in the throat in front of the victim’s two underage children, and then ran away.

The criminal spent several years in prison for domestic violence and had been pardoned by the President in May 2017.

The police detained the man the following day and he faces imprisonment from 16 to 18 years for murder and domestic violence.

After the tragic case, Margvelashvili decided to suspend pardoning of inmates who have been convicted for violent crimes.

The president’s pardoning commission is composed of ten people. Members are mostly lawyers from the civil sector and public figures, alongside the Public Defender and the Georgian Patriarchate.

The commission discusses all cases sent before it by inmates or their families, and makes the initial decision as to which prisoners seem to deserve a pardon. That list is then sent to the President for approval.

The President himself is the only person authorized to grant pardons in Georgia.