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Georgian ombudsman criticizes amendments to the law on manifestation2009-07-16 14:16
Georgian people's defender Sozar Subari came forward with severe criticism of the law on assembly and manifestation, on police and the Code of Administrative Offences.gt-en-newsitem-inside
As Georgia Times wrote earlier, last week the parliament of Georgia adopted amendments to these laws in a first reading.
Subari remarked he was in favor of any attempts directed towards improvement of the Georgian laws.
However certain amendments that have been adopted are in violation of the Constitution of Georgia and the European Convention on Human Rights, he assures.
It will be remembered that the law on assembly and manifestation includes a list of buildings 20 m near which it is prohibited to conduct public meetings. Under the new amendments road blockage during rallies is banned too unless most of protesters have not enough room on sidewalks.
The ombudsman states that according to the Constitution protests and motorway blockage are allowed whatever the assembly there be. According to him - the phrase "necessary" number of protesters is ambiguous, RIA Novosti reports.
"It is unclear who will determine the number of protesters, there is no mechanism that would allow them to be protected from abuse of power by the authorities at a certain moment", - the Ombudsman's statement goes.
In compliance with the Constitution the authorities are entitled to stop an action provided it's illegal, but a priori prohibition is unacceptable, Subari emphasizes.
The ombudsman also condemns prolongation of administrative imprisonment from 1 to 3 months. According to him this regulation is "unlawfully stringent", considering there is no "effective mechanism of contesting court rulings that contradict the European Convention on Human Rights".