Public Defender Responds to Annulment of Election Results of Polling Station Opened at Ksani Penitentiary Establishment No 15

During the ad hoc visit of the Special Preventive Group of the Public Defender's Office to the polling station opened at Ksani Establishment No 15 on October 31, 2020, the aim of which was to check both the general situation and the free realization of prisoners’ right to vote, several convicts obstructed the fulfillment of duties by representatives of the Public Defender and verbally abused them. Representatives of the prison administration, including the director of the establishment, witnessed the incident, but did not respond properly.

After the summary protocols of the polling station protocols were published, non-governmental organizations filed a complaint against the majoritarian protocol of the polling station opened at Ksani Establishment No 15, as 641 prisoners participated in the majoritarian elections, but allegedly not all of them were constituents of the Mtskheta election district.

Fortunately, the district commission granted the NGOs’ complaint and the results of the majoritarian elections of the mentioned polling station were annulled, which impacted the overall results of the constituency, as it created the need of holding the second round of elections in the Mtskheta constituency.

The scale of the election irregularities made it clear to the Public Defender’s Office why certain prisoners attacked representatives of the Public Defender’s Office, which was not prevented by the administration of the establishment. The statement of the Special Penitentiary Service is also particularly concerning, as they tried to mislead the public, saying that the prisoners of Establishment No 15 "reprimanded the representatives of the Public Defender for their negligence and called for more frequent visits to the facility."

It should be noted that the Public Defender of Georgia published a special report in 2019, which referred to the growing criminal subculture and its impact on the administration of Establishment No 15, which negatively affected the free realization of prisoners' rights.

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