Compiled by Tato Gachechiladze
Monday, June 25Devices banned in Courthouse
Rezonansi reports that the court has banned mobile phones and recording devices. According to the Municipal Court, the reason for this decision was the court's attempt to write in secret sessions.
Rezonansi attempted out to find out what the public thinks about all this.
Nana Kakabadze (NGO: Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights): "What they are doing is like a totalitarian state. There is disorder in the whole country. A former detainee had told me about life in prison. His story was very oppressive and I wonder how people can even bear it (prison life). The court is the only place where they had a chance to prove themselves. The government wants the court to keep people in fear and oppressed. The prisoners are pessimistic from the beginning, because they know there is no help.
The government hopes if the court controls the media and manages the environment, they will get right desired results. They are well aware that the public will not support such authority. The only support is their physical strength."
Merab Kokochashvili (Director): "This is categorically unacceptable for me. The major reason for such a decision is to hide information. If the journalists do not attend the court sessions and do not cover it in public, this limits information [to the public]. This is noteworthy that all this happens during the pre-election period and it is clear why it happens now, because they do not want the public to get information.”
Gela Nikolaishvili, Lawyer: "This is unacceptable, not only mobile phones, but laptops are also not allowed into court buildings. A lot of lawyers use laptops where they have such materials which could be shown to the court during the process, now this is not allowed.”
Sending press to prisoners is still prohibited
Rezonansi writes that sending press to prisons has been prohibited for several months unofficially. However, the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance will not confirm this information.
Nana Kakabadze, the Chairperson of the domestic NGO Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights says: "Free newspapers and magazines are especially restricted. The order is not official and everything is being done informally. Access to radio was restricted together with the press."
Accoridng to Kakabadze, there are some restrictions imposed on books as well, delivery of 1 kg of books costs GEL 10.
According to human rights watchdogs, the restriction of press is related to the political processes. This restriction was launched following Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s appearance in politics.