TBILISI, DFWatch–A citizens’ appeal to pardon former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava has been rejected by President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
Ugulava has been in detention since July 2014. His supporters argue that there have been committed several violations of his rights under international laws and the Georgian Constitution.
Among the signatories are singers, journalists, writers and human right activists.
One of the violations of Ugulava’s rights, they argue, is that he spent a year and three months in pretrial detention, more than the maximum of nine months.
The nine months limit is a total which can’t be circumvented by adding new periods of detention. This was decided by the Constitutional Court after studying the Ugulava case, in which such a practice was applied. Following the ruling, Ugulava was released from prison, but he returned to jail the next day after being found guilty of one of the things he was charged with.
“The judge made a decision in four hours after 22:00 about a case consisting of 80 volumes where about 120 witnesses were questioned and the charged Giorgi Ugulava wasn’t given time to prepare his final speech,” the letter reads.
Releasing Ugulava from prison will have positive influence on the country’s international image, the letter goes on to say.
President Margvelashvili answered Monday that he cannot pardon Ugulava. The president wrote that he values the opinion of exceptional people in society and acknowledges their ‘emotion about a person in prison.’
“However, the mechanism of pardoning cannot replace proceedings, investigation or serve political reasonability. Pardoning is a constitutional obligation which imposes on me great moral […] responsibility,” Margvelashvili wrote, clarifying that he cannot grant advantage to any convicted person.