TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) warn against selective justice from authorities and call on the government to treat everyone equally.
The NGOs’ express concern about the detention of the three activists from Tavisufali Zona (Free Zone) during a protest in support of Rustavi 2, a television company which had its shares seized by the court.
The three attacked parliament member Davit Lortkipanidze from Georgian Dream, pulling down his jacket. According to Lortkipanidze, they also broke his glasses.
Later, the court placed them in pre-trial detention. They are charged under article 239 of the Criminal Code about hooliganism, which may be punished with from 4 to 7 years in jail. It was unknown where they were taken for three hours after their detention.
The statement says that any kind of violence is a violation of law and law enforcement bodies are obliged to react, but the reaction shouldn’t be selective and identical facts should be followed by identical reaction.
“Detention of these people and measures used against them is an example of selective justice, which we think is preceded by political implication,” the statement reads.
Comparing the incident to recent examples, the statements recalls the physical attacks against former ruling party members and supporters outside the National Library in February 2013, when most of the attackers were fined only 100 laris and released. One person who hit MP Chiora Taktakishvili in the face was charged and jailed.
Another example used for comparison was an attack on Giorgi Ghviniashilvil from the UNM on September 14, 2015 in Kakheti. The offender was released after signing a written statement.
The NGOs list a number of cases to illustrate that there are indications of selective justice regarding the recent detention and call on the government to respect the right to free assembly guaranteed by the Constitution, and to react equally to identical offenses and act on the fundamental principle of equality before the law.
The statement is signed by Georgia’s Democratic Initiative (GDI), Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS), Media Development Fund (MDF), Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), Transparency International Georgia (TI) and others.