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Georgia
14.06.07
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of three members of the

New information
GEO 005 / 0607 / OBS 085.3
Arbitrary detention / Harassment
Georgia
June 14, 2007

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Georgia.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre (HRIDC) of the new arbitrary detention of Mr. Jaba Jishkariani, Mr. Davit Dalakishvili and Mr. Levan Gogichaishvili, members of the “Egalitarian Institute”, a Georgian NGO which brings together human rights defenders, writers and intellectuals.

According to the information received, on June 12, 2007, the police arrested Mr. Jaba Jishkariani, Mr. Davit Dalakishvili and Mr. Levan Gogichaishvili while they were painting their requests on the road in front of the General Prosecution Office regarding the release of Mr. Irakli Batiashvili, the leader of the political party “Tsin Sakartvelo” (“Forward Georgia”), and were taken to Administrative Court. Mr. Irakli Batiashvili had been put in jail in July 2006 for “participation in riot against the State” and was sentenced on May 23, 2007 to seven years of imprisonment under articles 25 and 315 of the Georgian Criminal Code.

On the same day, Mr. Jaba Jishkariani, Mr. Davit Dalakishvili and Mr. Levan Gogichaishvili were charged for “violating public order” and “disobedience to the police”, and sentenced to 25 days’ imprisonment according to article 173 of the Georgian Administrative Code. They are currently detained at the pre-trial detention centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern regarding the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Jaba Jishkariani, which only seems to aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, and recalls that he has already been arrested twice in 2006 and in March 2007 (See background information).

Background information:

Mr. Jishkariani, Mr. Davit Dalakishvili and Mr. Levan Gogichaishvili have been arbitrarily arrested on repeated occasions in 2006[1].

More recently, on March 19, 2007, Mr. Jaba Jishkariani was taken into custody after being sentenced on the same day to 30 days in prison for “disrespect to the court” (Article 208 of the Criminal Code of Georgia), by the Juvenile Court. Mr. Jishkariani was then attending a hearing in the trial against Mr. Giorgi Zerekidze, a juvenile prisoner (14), along with other members of the civil society.

In 2006, Mr. Giorgi Zerekidze had been found guilty by the Tbilisi City Court of “attempted murder” and “hooliganism” and sentenced to ten years in prison. On July 18, 2006 the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had expressed its deep concern following the sentence of Mr. Giorgi Zerekidze and called on Georgia to follow its commitments to ensure the full implementation of international juvenile justice standards under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by Georgia in 1994.

On March 19, 2007, the Court of Appeals in Tbilisi reduced Mr. Giorgi Zerekidze’s sentence to seven years’ imprisonment. Following this decision, Mr. Jishkariani reproached the Court for its lack of independence and said that the sentence was unfair. He also accused the Court Marshals (guardians) of being the “slaves of Mr. Ivane Merabishvili [Minister of Internal Affairs]”.

Mr. Jaba Jishkariani was released on April 18, 2007, after spending 30 days in detention at the pre-trial detention centre at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Georgia urging them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Jaba Jishkarinani, Mr. Davit Dalakishvili and Mr. Levan Gogichaishvili;
  2. Release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary;
  3. Put an end to acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in Georgia;
  4. Comply with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” and article 12.2, which declares that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”; as well as article 23.1 of the Concluding Document of the Vienna Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in particular article 23.1 which states that “no one will be subjected to arbitrary arrest [or] detention”;
  5. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Georgia.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Mikhail Saakashvili, President, State Chancellery, 7 Ingorokhva Street, 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel : +995 32 99 96 53; Fax : +995 32 99 92 00; E-mail : pr@president.gov.ge
  • Mr. Konstantin Korkelia, Secretary, National Security Council of Georgia, 7 Ingorokhva Street. 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia, Tel: +995 32 93 23 22 ; Fax: +995 32 98 99 72 ; E-mail: snsc@gol.ge
  • Mr. Ivane Merabishvili, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior of Georgia, Tel: +995 32 99 62 96 / 99 80 50 / 99 95 55; Fax: +995 32 98 71 46 / 99 95 24; E-mail: presscenter@pol.ge
  • Ms. Elene Tevdoradze; Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Petitions and Relations with the Civil Society, Parliament of Georgia, 8 Rustaveli Avenue. 380018 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel: +995 32 99 69 51; Fax: +995 32 92 15 63 / 92 33 50
  • Mr. Gia Kavtaradze, Minister of Justice, 19, Griboedov st, Tbilisi, 380008, Georgia, Tel: +995 32 93 27 21 / 93 50 49 / 75-82-22; Fax: +995 32 93 02 25 / 75-82-22 ; Email: justice@justice.gov.ge
  • Mr Zurab Adeishvili, General Prosecutor of Georgia, 24 Gorgasali st, 380014, Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel:+995 32 98 21 54 / 93 23 44 / 93 68 45 / 99 06 68; Fax: +995 32 98 21 70
  • Mr Sozar Subari, Ombudsman of Georgia, 11, Machabeli street, Tbilisi 0107, Georgia, Phone: + 995 32 92 39 60 / 92 24 78 / 92 24 81 / 93 15 85; Fax: + 995 32 92 24 70; Email: info@ombudsman.ge
  • Human Rights Service of the National Security Council, Tel: + 995 32 93-13-22 ; Fax: + 995 32 92-35-58
  • Mr. Levan Mikeladze, Ambassador, Permanent mission of Georgia to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue Richard Wagner 1, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 733 90 33 ; Email: geomission.geneva@bluewin.ch
  • Ambassador Mr. Salomé Samadaschvele, Diplomatic Mission of Georgia to Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 732 85 47

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Georgia in your respective country.

***

Geneva - Paris, June 14, 2007

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] For further information please refer to the Annual Report 2006 of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders as well as Urgent Appeal GEO 005/0607/OBS 085.2 issued on March 23, 2007.

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