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Georgian political prisoners’ gesture of despair2009-12-11 16:40
The International Human Rights Day is celebrated in Georgia by a hunger strike conducted by 35 political prisoners. The government, which is so vain of the discipline established among the law-enforcement authorities, has put the opponents, who ventured to come out with criticism, to prison. The methods of suppressing nonconformity became one of the main subjects of the ombudsman's report presented to Parliamentary Human Rights Committee today.
Today, on the International Human Rights Day, 35 Georgian prisoners are on hunger strike. The pseudo-democratic regime has put many of them in jail only because they ventured to express protest against the governmental policy.
The strikers include several military men accused of holding an anti-government mutiny, member of NGO Institute of Equal Rights Levan Gogichaishvili and supporters of leader of the Justice party, former Minister of State Security of the country Igor Giorgadze.
Yesterday, the action was also joined by military expert Vakhtang Maisaya and Professor Omar Kutsnashvili.
As was earlier reported by GeorgiaTimes, former officer of the Georgian MFA Vakhtang Maisaya was arrested on May 5, on the day when an armored cavalry battalion at the military base in Mukhrovani near Tbilisi proclaimed insubordination to authority. MFA of Georgia reported prevention of an armed coup.
Maisaya's case was not directly connected with the preparation of a mutiny but became a logical continuation of the "Mukhrovani story". He was accused of espionage in favor of Russia under Article 314 of the Georgian Criminal Code, which implies up to 12 years of imprisonment.
The investigation is trying to prove that he allegedly performed the tasks of the special services and sent the encrypted secret information by electronic mail.
According to a video record of the interrogation disseminated by MIA, he confessed his crime. However, in September, the Human Rights Center representatives told about the pressure upon the suspect. He was forced to incriminate himself, as well as the head of Foreign Intelligence Service, the UN permanent representative and several more people he knew.
Today, Maisaya's attorneys and human right defenders demanded initiating criminal prosecution of the Counterintelligence Department officers, specifically, investigators Lado Datashvili and Vakhtang Zumbadze who forced Maisaya to give such evidence. However, the expert found himself in the dock; the hearing of his case was held in Tbilisi today.
Omar Kutsnashvili has been kept in prison for almost a year and a half. The fact was reported to KAVKAZ-PRESS by his attorney. Professor demands that the consideration of his case in Supreme Court should be accelerated. He was accused of non-purpose spending and sentenced to four years of imprisonment. However, he asserts that his signature on credit documents was forged.
The strikers demand a meeting with the Council of Europe experts. Recently, the Europeans considered several cases delivered by the Georgian human rights defenders. Even these judges, who feel sympathy for Tbilisi, had to account 5 of the 19 convicts to be political prisoners.
By the way, an extraordinary meeting was held today to consider the candidates for release on parole from those who have served half of their sentence and behaved well. Still, the decision will hardly involve political prisoners.
The authorities would not even let such unreliable people embark on official hunger strike. The very fact of a protest action was denied by Ministry for Punishment and Legal Assistance.