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Ombudsman Subari leaves office2009-07-31 15:44
Georgian authorities are in a hurry to replace People's defender Sozar Subari. With just over a month left before his time in office expires the parliamentary majority insists on prompt voting for a new candidate. Today the deputies will either elect Giorgy Tugushi nominated by the majority or Dmitry Lortkipanidze, a minority deputy.
Since autumn 2007 Sozar Subari has regularly discredited Mikheil Saakashvili's regime that resorts to police force to fight with the otherwise-minded. This spring when the opposition became increasingly active the ombudsman had a lot of work to do. Every day he had to criticize authorities for night assaults on demonstrators or detention of oppositionists, or the use of plastic bullets. In his latest statement on July 21 he called to start criminal proceedings against police officers and the Interior Minister for the violence against the people detained on June 15 near the Main Police Department.
Well-deserved criticism from the ombudsman's office was even more ruinous for the image of democratic Georgia than the statements by the opposition. Subari was a like fishbone in the throat of the authorities. He was appointed to this position in 2004 by the parliament and had the right to be reelected this year. However no parliamentary faction was brave enough to prolong his powers.
As set forth in the law "On Ombudsman" Sozar Subari's powers expire on September 16, four years and 60 days after he was elected. However the parliament didn't wait for the autumn regardless of numerous claims from minority deputies. Christian Democrat Georgy Targamadze was convincing his opponents that more time people should be given more time to have a better idea of the candidates. But pro-presidential United National Movement faction imposed its will again: the voting is scheduled for July 31.
Parliamentary majority presented its own ombudsman candidate. It is Georgy Tugushi, an attorney. He works in a department of Georgian Ombudsman's administration and is a member of European Anti-Torture Committee.
David Darchaishvili of the parliamentary majority in his interview with Caucasian Knot emphasized that Tugushi's activities were in line with the ombudsman's aspirations. Many consider it Subari's merit that the use of torture by law-enforcement bodies was practically banned. "Indeed, over the past time we can say this problem has been solved. The ombudsman's position and general attitude of the democratic forces had their part in it", - Zurab Gongadze of Georgia's National Democratic Party says.
Tugushi himself is positive about Subari's activities promising "to focus on protection of every citizen and every prisoner", - GHN reports. "There are principles that must be observed always, in all cases", - he told journalists assuring about his intention to introduce public monitoring of prisons and penal colonies in the first place.
It was expected that Christian Democrats would run Sozar Subari as a candidate from the parliamentary minority. But a different name was pronounced at the parliamentary session: Dmitry Lortkipanidze of Strong Georgia faction was nominated.
According to expert Zviad Koridze it was a compromise of the parliamentary opposition.
"Lately Sozar Subari has become a conflict figure. The authorities wouldn't have backed him as a candidate and the parliamentary majority would have unanimously voted against him. That is why I guess Christian Democrats decided to nominate a different candidate that has at least some chances to win over the government's choice". - Koridze remarked.