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Did government violate presumption of innocence norms?

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, November 10
A number of NGOs have demanded a meeting with Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and former officials.

The statement released and signed by 12 different NGOs reads that they made this decision after observing the situation in Georgia lately.

After the detention of several employees at the Ministry of Defense, former Minister Irakli Alasania stated that Georgia’s European orientation was at risk. The statement resulted in his dismissal. Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili, who is also Alasania’s team member, resigned after Alasania was sacked. Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze also followed suit, and made a statement concerning her resignation along with her first deputy.

According to NGOs, the accusations made by politicians about these developments often violate the presumption of innocence.

“Besides, the former Prime Minister also seems to be actively involved in the process. Concerns about the current state of affairs have been voiced by representatives of Georgia’s partner countries,” reads the statement.

“Even though the Prime Minister, Members of the Government, Chairman of Parliament and representatives of the ruling coalition have denied accusations regarding the change of Euro-Atlantic course, we believe that the public requires deeper and more substantial answers about the questions that have been brought up,” reads the statement.

“We would like to emphasize that integration with European and Euro-Atlantic structures, as well as the development of democratic institutions, is the resolute decision of the Georgian people. It is completely unacceptable for any political force or individual to undermine democratic development and Western integration, as well as the country’s security and defense,” reads the statement.

According to the statement, representatives of civil society cannot be indifferent and passive, “Given the fact that former members of the government have spoken about deliberate attempts to undermine Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. We call on the Prime Minister, as well as the former members of the government, to hold a meeting and give us their assessments on the current situation,” reads the statement.

Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili said that in the case of the MoD officials, presumption of innocence was violated by high-ranking officials. The public defender said that he is studying the case.

“This is very bad that before the court made any decisions, some high ranking officials made statements in this regard. We are already studying the case and will make another statement as we receive more information.”