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European Court of Human Rights accepts Ratishvili’s claim against Georgia2009-07-13 22:25
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg accepted a claim of Merab Ratishvili, a Russian businessman, president of Golf Association of Georgia, against Georgian authorities, RIA Novosti reports with reference to Article 42 of the Constitution NGO coordinator Manana Kobakhidze.gt-en-newsitem-inside
Ratishvili was detained on October 26 2007. Later he was found guilty of illegal acquisition, storage and distribution of drugs and sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment. The group of independent experts and opposition consider Ratishvili a political prisoner. Georgia's well-known NGO Article 42 of the Constitution protecting Ratishvili's interests in Strasbourg promulgated the ruling only a week later. According to Ratishvili's defenders unprecedented violations of the European convention were revealed: Article 3 (prohibition of torture), Article 6 (fair trial), Article 10 (free expression) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).
As Kobakhidze reported earlier, Ratishvili was detained in the center of Tbilisi driving his car on October 26. In the moment of arrest policemen applied physical force and when he cried out of pain he was given an intramuscular injection of a narcotic substance. Then a narcologic examination was carried out proving Ratishvili was under an influence of heroine, Kobakhidze reported. The NGO representative also categorically denied Ratishvili's alleged use of drugs as he had had a healthy lifestyle and had gone in for sports.
According to Kobakhidze, the reason why the authorities launched persecution of Ratishvili was his support of Georgian opposition. "Ratishvili has double citizenship (Russian and Georgian) and would often come to Georgia. He had friendly relations with authorities and opposition. The authorities decided to take advantage of this and force him into a statement that a number of opposition leaders including ex minister for conflict settlement Georgy Khaindrava were Russian spies. When he was on preliminary detention he was frequently visited by Interior Ministry Counter Intelligence Service officers who urged him to testify against the opposition. Ratishvli refused and after that he was condemned to 9 years of jail", - Kobakhidze stated.
If Strasbourg admits the violations above Georgian authorities will have to pay Ratishvili a EUR 50,000 fine.