TBILISI, DFWatch — The Prison Ministry plans to release political prisoners no later than Sunday, immediately after a new law on amnesty comes into force.
Prison Minister Sozar Subari said after the government session today that the ministry will publish a list of political prisoners to be released.
Today is the last day the president can sign the amnesty law into force. If he still refuses to do so, then tomorrow, January 12, Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili will sign the law and on Sunday it will be possible to release prisoners.
“From 10:00 in the morning on Sunday, the process of releasing [political prisoners] will start, and in one hour everyone will leave,” the minister said.
As for the rest of the prisoners which the amnesty applies to, it will take two weeks to get their documents in order.
“But we have almost finished putting in order those documents. So as soon as law is enforced we will send documents to courts and then it is the prerogative of the court to conduct the process of releasing.”
He doesn’t exclude that the court may have additional questions and may return some of the documents back.
More than 17 000 cases will be sent to the courts.
Speaker of Parliament Davit Usuashvili said after today’s government session that the president himself told him that he doesn’t plan to sign the law. Thursday, President Mikheil Saakashvili hosted Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Georgian Patriarch Ilia II at his palace. Usupashvili was also invited.
The new government started preparing the law on amnesty immediately after the parliamentary election. It went through a long procedure of reviews and changes. When the law was confirmed by the parliament, it was sent to the president for him to sign into force, but the president used his right of veto and blocked the law, saying that he won’t sign a law which allows the release of spies and criminals and which may endanger public security in the country.
Saakashvili sent the law back to parliament with his own remarks, but his version of the law failed to get enough votes. Following procedures, parliament once again voted for the first version of the law and for the second time sent it to the president for signing.
His seven-day term of signing ends today, Friday.