The Public Defender’s recommendation to the Minister of Internal Affairs

In accordance with Sub-Paragraph B of Article 21 of the Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, the Public Defender of Georgia, George Tugushi, addresses the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Ivane Merabishvili, with a recommendation to ensure that the rights of persons detained on the night of May 26 are restored. In particular, the Public Defender recommends that the detainees be allowed to contact their family members or lawyers, be provided with adequate medical service, and receive items not prohibited by the legislation through parcels.

As a result of the events that took place on the night of May 26, 2011, law enforcement officers detained dozens of persons who were then transferred to different temporary detention isolators in eastern and western Georgia. Besides, the whereabouts of dozens of persons is still unknown. Only in a few cases did the investigators contact the families of the detainees and notify them of their detention and whereabouts.

On May 26, representatives of the Public Defender visited the persons placed in temporary detention isolators of Tbilisi (No. 2), Mtskheta, and Kaspi, and the Shida Kartil regional temporary detention isolator. As it was found out later, the persons detained in the Tbilisi TDI No. 2 were transferred to other isolators on the same day. Accordingly, the lawyers were not able to visit them. At present, the Public Defender’s Office is continuing to monitor other isolators, though, as the practice of May 26 has shown, it cannot be ruled out that the persons sentenced to administrative imprisonment will be relocated once more.

Due to the aforementioned, the prisoners’ right to defense is restricted, and their families are devoid of the elementary possibility to know the whereabouts of their loved ones. In accordance with Article 42 of the Constitution of Georgia, “Everyone has the right to apply to a court for the protection of his/her rights and freedoms,” and “The right to defense shall be guaranteed.”

The Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) attaches particular importance to three rights of persons detained by the police: the right to notify a third party, which he chooses himself (a family member, friend, consulate), of his detention, the right to counsel, and the right to demand examination by a doctor whom he chooses himself (plus any medical examination by the doctor brought by the police). In the opinion of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, these are three main means to protect detainees from cruel treatment applied at the starting stage of deprivation of liberty.

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