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The News in Brief

Wednesday, April 1
It will soon be known if suicide is ruled out in Erosi Kitsmarishvili’s case – lawyer

As Erosi Kitsmarishvili’s family lawyer, Gagi Mosiashvili has told InterPressNews, the family and lawyers have already met the investigative team of Tbilisi Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the lawyer, the Prosecutor’s Office will provide the family with results of the investigation in the near future.

“We provided the investigative team with a six-point document which contains some information we insist be reviewed. At the same time, we are examining the surveillance camera footage. We hope a productive meeting will be held in nearest days,”- the lawyer said.

“Kitsmarishvili’s family members and we, lawyers rely on facts and believe it was not a suicide. As a result of investigative measures conducted by our demand, we will receive information ruling out suicide,”- the lawyer remarked. (IPN)

Fake priests detained in Georgia

Police in Georgia have detained four fake priests who apparently falsified documents in order to get visa for the Schengen area.

The young men are accused of forging documents that make them out to be clerics in the influential Georgian Church. They presented their documents at the German consulate in Tbilisi.

The four, who are 23, 24, 25 and 26 years old, were detained by unit of the police tasked with fighting organized crime.

They are charged with forging documents, a violation of the Criminal Code which may be punished by a fine or up to 3 years of custody.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the four were disguised as church leaders, from different churches, of the level prior or above and indicated as having monthly income ranging between 900 to 1,300 laris (USD 430 to 600) from donations of their parish.

The Georgian Church which, according to many studies, wield immense influence in the country also runs churches in Europe and North America, serving the Georgian diaspora. (DFwatch)

PM meets NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative

Enhancing women's participation in security issues was one of the main topics discussed at a meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Marriet Schuurman NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security.

The parties also discussed Georgia's National Action Plan for the Implementation of the NATO Security Council Resolution 1325, which, among others, aims at enhancing women's participation in conflict resolution, prevention, and management and giving due consideration to their interests.

It was emphasized that, in December 2014, the coordination mechanism of Georgia's National Action Plan was placed under the jurisdiction of the Government Administration. The plan expires in 2015, and, in the process of its resumption, the Government Administration will take into account all recommendations provided after the assessment of its implementation. The Prime Minister pointed out that the Government spares no effort to ensure the engagement of civil society and the international community in this process. (

Two-key surveillance system launches in Georgia

A new law came into force on March 31 that gives the Personal Data Protection Inspector of Georgia overall control of secret surveillance throughout the country.

The Personal Data Protection Inspector must give consent before any surveillance is undertaken.

Similarly the corresponding law, earlier adopted by the Parliament of Georgia, enters into force.

According to the new law, the two-stage system envisages relevant authorities to apply to undertake surveillance, the Personal Data Protection Inspector will give consent electronically, and only then secret investigative actions can begin.

Furthermore, the new law states the Personal Data Protection Inspector will supervise the process of hidden investigative actions and the process of recording telephone conversations to ensure surveillance was not abused and citizens were not illegally monitored.

The same law states after the surveillance has taken place, the Personal Data Protection Inspector and Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs must present a special report of the results of the surveillance to Parliament's Human Rights Committee.

Georgian lawmakers have hotly debated the topic of surveillance in Georgia for many months about who would have ‘key’ or direct access to the surveillance.

Earlier, one version of the draft law proposed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) foresaw the Interior Ministry only having limited access to telecommunication companies’ server infrastructure.

In this version, law enforcement agencies could only carry out surveillance and obtain requested data from telecommunications service providers only after they obtained a court order that authorized eavesdropping.

This meant that the key to surveillance would be in the hands of telecommunication companies and the court. NGOs believed this would deter authorities from conducting illegal surveillance.

However the Government strongly disagreed with this proposal and argued the key should be in the hands of the Interior Ministry.

The Government said it should not be necessary to notify telecommunication operators before surveillance activities took place, as it would increase the risk of sensitive information being leaked and undermining operative activities of law enforcement agencies.

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili twice vetoed the bill on secret surveillance however Parliament still adopted the law.

The issue of illegal surveillance in Georgia was thrust into the spotlight and intensely debated last year following the revelation thousands of secret video recordings were kept by the former government of Georgia.

The current Government has pledged to establish strong mechanisms in legislative and executive level to prevent illegal surveillance. But human rights and watchdog groups said despite these promises, law enforcement agencies still had unlimited access to data from communication service operators. (