Public Defender Releases Information about Visiting Irakli Pirtskhalava in Penitentiary Facility

On 31 July, 2015, a joint statement of the Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), Media Development Foundation (MDF), Identity, Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) was posted on the website of the NGO Georgian Democracy Initiative. Among other issues, the statement noted that the Public Defender's Office had never visited inmate Irakli Pirtskhalava, who stands accused in the so-called "Courts Case". In addition, the signatories of the statement called on the Public Defender's Office to "proactively pay visits to penitentiary facilities, carry out a visit to the defendant and make an appropriate response to violation of his rights”.

The Public Defender points out that information included in the statement that members of the National Preventive Mechanism have not visited defendant Irakli Pirtskhalava is not true.

Representatives of the Public Defender's Office have repeatedly visited inmate Pirtskhalava before and after he was transferred from the penitentiary establishment No 9 to the establishment No 8. In addition, they made a relevant response to Pirtskhalava’s claims, mostly related to primary needs, and informed the defendant of it in a written form.

The Public Defender's Office requested information about the motive of transferring Irakli Pirtskhalava to the penitentiary establishment No 8 as soon as information about the transfer was released. Representatives of the Public Defender's Office visited Pirtskhalava both on 30 July (though no meeting could be held due to the defendant’s presence at a trial), and on August 1 in the penitentiary establishment No 9.

The Public Defender welcomes any efforts of NGOs that are aimed at protecting human rights. However, it considers it unacceptable to release a statement without checking factual circumstances, which can mislead the public.

The Public Defender hopes that the above-mentioned organizations will show more responsibility during making statements about similar sensitive issues in the future and will not contribute to spreading unverified and incorrect information.

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