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Public Defender releases statement about dismissal of individuals on political grounds

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, September 2
The Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria has released a statement concerning the alleged discriminatory dismissal of dozens of people for their political views during the pre-election period. According to the statement “62 employees were subjected to various forms of pressure” and most of them explained that the reason for that was their friendship or good relations with members of the party of former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the statement, the mentioned individuals were fired from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, municipal services, non-commercial legal entities as well as legal entities under public law established by various municipalities, and other public institutions. The statement reads that despite confirming the pressure, several of those people did not allow the Public Defender's Office to examine their cases. The dismissed individuals claim that their superiors told them to file applications for resignation, while some people agreed on the demand, others who refused to do so were later dismissed anyway, on other grounds.

“The above cases contain elements of a crime under the Criminal Code of Georgia – persecution for political views,” Public Defender’s office reports. According to the statement, On August 31, 2021, the ombudsman sent the cases of 34 persons to the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia for investigation and response. The Public Defender's Office pledges to keep providing additional information on such incidents to the law enforcement agencies and monitoring their response to the cases. Ombudswoman will also examine individual cases of alleged discrimination and violation of the right to work.

The Public Defender emphasizes that it is unacceptable to persecute people and to dismiss them due to their political views and opinions. Considering this, the Public Defender calls on the heads of central and local self-government bodies and other public institutions not to dismiss or instruct the dismissal of employees on political grounds and urges the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to timely investigate the issue of possible persecution of the persons indicated in the letter sent by the Public Defender and to respond accordingly.