- Happy King’s Day to the Netherlands !
- Georgia celebrates Easter on this Sunday, 2nd May. Happy Easter to all those who celebrate it on this day !
- The members of Europe-Georgia Institute express their sincere condolences on the death of Hans van Baalen, who was a champion of liberalism and a great friend of Georgia.
The President of Georgia pardoned Giorgi Rurua
The President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili pardoned Giorgi Rurua, one of the shareholders of the Mtavari Arkhi TV. In an official letter she said: “I welcome the fulfilment of the first stage of the agreement! I, on my part, fulfilled my words and signed the pardon act”
The opposition considered Giorgi Rurua, who owns a 2.5% stake in the Mtavari Arkhi TV, a “political prisoner”. In November 2019, he was arrested on charges of illegal purchase-possession-carrying of firearms. He was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2020. In regard to his case, Transparency International Georgia spoke about the illegal restriction of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia and international acts.
The EU Delegation to Georgia issued a statement on April 27. They welcomed the steps taken by Georgian politicians in the wake of the April 19 agreement, including the entry of some opposition MPs into parliament and the pardon of Giorgi Rurua by President Salome Zurabishvili.
In the agreement reached on April 19, 2021, Georgian Dream and the opposition pledged to resolve “two issues perceived as politicized justice [Melia and Rurua] through amnesty and/or similar measures” within a week of the signing of the agreement.
Parliament toughens punishment for police disobedience and petty hooliganism
The Parliament of Georgia adopted amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses in the third hearing On April 29.The amendments include an increase of the fine and the term of administrative detention for repeated acts of petty hooliganism and police disobedience.
Ana Natsvlishvili, MP from the Lelo party, said that these changes served to deprive dissatisfied citizens of their right to protest.
The tightening of the law was also criticized by non-governmental organizations. The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) said on April 27 that instead of a comprehensive reform of the Code of Administrative Offenses, the “substantial tightening of the repressive part of the Code would have a detrimental effect on human rights.” The Center for Social Justice said on April 28 that the changes “open up even more space for the arbitrary use of police repressive mechanisms and sanctions.”
The changes were critically assessed by the US Embassy in Tbilisi. “We are deeply disappointed by the ruling party’s rushed passage of amendments to Georgia’s Administrative Violations Code today. Expedited passage of these amendments was unnecessary and unhelpful. The lack of meaningful consultation with opposition parties, civil society and other stakeholders raises questions about the purpose of the amendments”.
Georgian Dream and Parliamentary Opposition Submit Various Amnesty Bills to Parliament
Georgian Dream and the parliamentary opposition submitted 2 different versions of the amnesty bill to the parliament. The amnesty was included in the agreement achieved on April 19, 2021
The bill proposed by Georgian Dream on April 27 provides for the acquittal of all defendants in the current events of June 19-21, 2019,. According to Anri Okhanashvili, a member of Georgian Dream, amnesty cannot be extended to torture, threats of torture, inhuman treatment and intentional grievous bodily harm. Opposition’s amnesty proposal soon followed. The opposition doesn’t want the amnesty to provide acquittal for the law enforcement officers who are accused of abuse of power and mutilation of people during the event of June 19-21. According to Shalva Shavgulidze, the difference between the amnesty version of the opposition is that “amnesty for police officers is used only with the consent of the victim, and the same requirement doesn’t apply for protesters.”
We would like to remind you that one of the ways to release the chairman of the United National Movement – Nika Melia – is Amnesty. Nika Melia himself said that the Amnesty will be categorically unacceptable for him if it covers the law enforcement officers too. If this is the case, he announced his readiness to agree to the payment of bail by the EU and demanded the removal of the Amnesty Law.