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Georgian Public Defender unveils Human Rights Report for second half of 2009

02 April 2010 [09:18] - TODAY.AZ
The Public Defender’s Office submitted this week a report on human rights record in Georgia covering second half of 2009.
A significant part of the 328-page report addresses situation in the prison system and detention centers, saying that penitentiary system “still remains one of the problematic issues.”

The report says that “extremely overcrowded” cells represents one of the major problems. The report lists eight facilities where number of inmates exceeds its capacity limit.

”Overcrowding in several facilities causes unbearable conditions, which in some cases can be described as inhuman treatment of inmates,” the report reads.

The Public Defender’s Office says that although ongoing process of building new facilities will help to ease the problem, it is not a solution. The report instead calls on the authorities to drop the policy of “zero tolerance” towards any type of offense.

The report notes increase of complaints submitted by inmates to the Public Defender’s Office about their mistreatment by prison officials.

In respect of the judiciary system, the report says that the Public Defender’s Office has analyzed number of criminal and administrative cases heard by the courts.

“Lack of proper justification of interim rulings and final verdicts represent one of the most problematic issues in the judiciary system,” the report reads.

It says that during the analyzing of criminal cases heard in the courts, this problem has been revealed for multiple times “indicating that insufficient justification of decisions is a systematic problem.”

According to the report it “often” happens, when a judge declines motions submitted by defendant’s attorney lawyer, simply citing that motions are unjustified, but a judge does not give a detailed explanation.

In respect of police, the report says that there have been cases of mistreatment of detainees by the police in the reporting period. The Public Defender’s previous report, covering the first half of 2009, noted increase of such cases, as well as misuse of power by the police in western Georgia.

“The same trend is observed in the second half of 2009 as well,” the report says.

The report says that the Public Defender’s Office is aware of seven cases of physical and verbal assaults on religious minority groups that took place in the reporting period with six of them against Jehovah’s Witnesses and one against evangelical Protestant group.

The report says that no one has been held responsible for this type of assaults in the reporting period.


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