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The News in Brief

Wednesday, January 31
How much do teachers in Gali actually earn?

Here in Gali, southeastern Abkhazia, the school teachers are the only group of ethnic Georgians that the breakaway authorities don’t demand formal documents from in order to be allowed to work, several teachers told DFWatch.

As part of our series of reports, DFWatch attempted to gage the real salary levels among school teachers in this predominantly ethnic Georgian part of the breakaway region. The teachers we spoke to said the pay is ‘relatively normal’.

Teachers are classified by their merits and experience and receive differentiated remuneration.

First to fourth grades’ teachers have the following salaries:

The highest category, which is paid 652 Russian rubles (USD 11.60) per hour;

First category is paid 619 rubles (USD 11.00);

Second category’s remuneration is 586 rubles (USD 10.40),

Teachers not in any category get 550 rubles (USD 9.80), and

Teachers with technical education – 519 rubles (USD 9.20).

Fifth to eleventh grades’ teachers are similarly distributed, but receive a little more.

The highest category gets 783 Russian rubles (USD 13.90) per hour;

First category’s remuneration amounts to 743 rubles (USD 13.20);

Second category is paid 703 rubles (USD 12.50);

Teachers not in any category get 660 rubles (USD 11.70); and,

Teachers with technical education receive 623 rubles USD 11.10).

A teacher at the Georgian school here told DFWatch, “overall the salary is relatively normal.” The Abkhaz side has to work with specialists with Georgian education, because they do not have the appropriate base of teachers who graduated from Sokhumi high schools.

“The [school] teachers, I think, are the only privileged group whom the Abkhaz side doesn’t ask for Abkhazian documents. We have had teachers even living across the Enguri [river]. It is true that they are not really happy having teachers with Georgian education, but they do not have the appropriate base yet. [Sokhumi de facto government] coerced teachers to graduate special 4-year colleges, and then two-year retraining courses to conduct lessons in Russian but they actually can’t manage to replace teachers with Georgian education,” the teacher said.

Additionally, teachers at Georgian schools receive a bonus from the Georgian government twice a year, amounting to 780 GEL (USD 311).

In conversation with DFWatch, teachers say that Abkhazian de facto authorities sometimes arbitrarily change both their work hours and wage in their contract, so the actual salary is different from what it says in the documents. (DF watch)

CSOs Seek Meeting with Chief Prosecutor over Mukhtarli Case

A group of thirteen leading civil society organizations released a joint statement on January 29, calling on the Georgian authorities to effectively investigate the case of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who went missing in Tbilisi on May 29, 2017, and appeared in a detention facility in Baku a day later.

“Eight months after the incident, the public still has no answers on the details and the results of the ongoing investigation, and there are serious questions on the effectiveness of the investigation,” the organizations said.

“The reported participation of government officials in the case has not been properly investigated yet,” reads the CSO statement, referring to the Azerbaijani journalist’s allegations that he was kidnapped by Georgian-speaking men in police uniforms.

The organizations also stressed that the absence of detailed explanations on the incident “further strengthens the doubts on possible political influence on the investigation,” and that conducting the investigation ineffectively would endanger “Georgia’s democratic image.”

The civil society organizations then urged the authorities to release video recordings from CCTV cameras located in Tbilisi, in the area Mukhtarli was reportedly kidnapped from, and from border crossing point with Azerbaijan, as well as to grant victim’s status to him and his wife to allow them access to case materials.

The CSOs also believe that the investigation, which has been launched under article 143 (Paragraph one) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, should be carried out under Paragraph 2, 3 and 4 of the same article (unlawful imprisonment in aggravating circumstances), as well as under article 154 (unlawful interference with journalistic activities). They also want to meet with the Chief Prosecutor to get updated on the course and results of investigation.

Afgan Mukhtarli, who was arrested on charges of illegal border crossing, smuggling money and police disobedience by Azerbaijani authorities, was sentenced to six years in prison on January 12. The United States and the European Union criticized the decision and called on the Azerbaijani government to release him immediately, and on the Georgian government to investigate his allegations. (