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Vice Speaker: President’s Decision Won’t Recover Victims of Violence

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 18
The Georgian Vice-Parliament Speaker, former head of Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association, Tamar Chugoshvili believes that Margvelashvili’s decision to temporarily suspend pardoning of suspects of violent crimes will not recover victims.

Chugoshvili also criticized the frequency of Margvelashvili’s pardoning prisoners.

"Unfortunately, the president’s pardon statistics is not even close to the statistics of any country. We saw the result - we saw a pardoned individual, who committed a murder. I do not know the details, but it is clear that the president should be more careful about violent crimes,” said Tamar Chugoshvili.

Margvelashvili stated at a special briefing on Monday that he suspends pardoning of those accused of violent crimes in the wake of brutal killing of a 25-year-old girl, in front of her two minors, by her step father who was pardoned by the president last year.

The president stated that the main reason why the Pardon Commission pardoned the inmate was a “very positive description” about the individual from the Ministry of Corrections.

Margvelashvili said that the Pardon Commission will receive applications. However, he will not pardon anyone accused of the crimes motivated by violence until consultations over the pardon issues, with all actors involved, are complete.

The president made the announcement he was grilled by the majority and the Interior Ministry officials for pardoning the 45-year-old Vepkhvia Bakradze who killed his stepdaughter in central Tbilisi on April 13 in revenge, as his ex-wife refused to live with him.

The president also had to answer the question on why the Parole Commission of the Ministry of Corrections refused to release the pardoned individual pre-term.

Margvelashvili stated that Bakradze addressed the Parole Commission after he was pardoned by him. The president said that he did not know how the Commission had a different, negative description of the man.

Aleksandre Darakhvelidze, head of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Corrections, claimed that identical data were sent to the President's Administration and the Parole Commission in regards to the person.

Darakhvelidze added that the data sent by the penitentiary facility does not include either positive or negative assessment, but contains only description of objective circumstances: how an inmate obeyed the rules, whether he/she was involved in social and rehabilitation programs, and a psychologist’s report.

"Both the Pardon Commission and the President made the decision based on this information. We made negative decisions on the early release six times," said Darakhvelidze.

Bakradze was detained in 2015 for violating traffic rules and inflicting injuries to a family member.

The president pardoned him in 2017 and commuted his term by six months. Consequently, the individual left prison in May 2017, instead of December 2017.

Bakradze, who served in the Ministry of Internal Affairs Security Service in 1990ies, was detained on April 14, shortly after he killed his stepdaughter. He is facing 18-20 years in prison or a life sentence.

The President is the only person authorised to pardon inmates in Georgia.

He decides which inmates can be pardoned after a lengthy discussion by the President’s Pardon Commission.

The President’s Pardon Commission is composed of ten people, mainly lawyers from the civil sector, public figures, the Public Defender and a spiritual representative from Georgia’s Patriarchate.