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Public Defender pushes for the creation of special independent body

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, July 8
Public Defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili made a statement regarding the detention of former Mayor Gigi Ugulava and the demonstration in front of the court building following Ugulava’s detention. Nanuashvili stated that several violations were observed during the events that unfolded in front of the court building. Concerning Ugulava’s detention, Nanuashvili refrained from commenting as the case is being studied by the Ombudsman’s Office. Nanuashvili also voiced a recommendation on the creation of an independent structure that will investigate offences committed by law-enforcement employees.

Ugulava was arrested at Tbilisi International Airport early morning on July 3. The Finance Ministry’s investigation service states that Ugulava was arrested over a scheme through which he was receiving “black money” from an offshore company. Finally Ugulava was sent to pre-trial detention according to the verdict announced by Judge Giorgi Goniashvili on July 4. The verdict was followed by unrest among United National Movement supporters who were angered by the court’s decision. Several UNM supporters were detained. MP Levan Bezhashvili and Georgia’s former ambassador to Italy Kote Gabashvili were among them, all of which were released later after being fined GEL 100 each.

Nanuashvili claims that the law-enforcers had no right to detain MP Bezhashvili, as Georgian legislation prohibits the detention of an MP for administrative violations.

“It is important that every single person who was taking part in the process is protected and any kind of violence must be condemned, no matter who the aggressor is,” stated Nanuashvili.

Nanuashvili informed that about 40 applications are submitted in the Public Defender's Office regarding presumable crimes committed by police officers.

“This new body should be independent and not affiliated with any state structure. Such a body operates all over the world, in any developed state. We should urgently create it,” Nanuashvili said, noting that the draft over the body has already been submitted to Parliament.