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Parliament Calls for Filing ECHR Lawsuit Against Russia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Feb.'07 / 20:03

Hundreds of Georgians were collectively expelled from the Russian Federation illegally because of their ethnic background in an anti-Georgian campaign that was authorized by the Russian officials, the conclusion of a Georgian special parliamentary commission said.

The commission was set up last October to look into cases of human rights abuses against Georgians in Russia.

Chairman of the commission MP Nika Gvaramia presented the conclusion at the parliamentary session on February 16.

The conclusion is a detailed summary of dozens of Georgians deported from Russia after a spy row erupted between the two countries last September.

The document includes the cases of four Georgians – Manana Jabelia, Tengiz Togonidze, Revaz Berulava and Zurab Muzashvili – who died before being deported from Russia. According to the document, all of them died due to negligence on the part of the Russian authorities.

The decision to expel Georgian citizens from Russia was made “without assessing the actual and legal circumstances, in a short period of time irrelevant to court discussions, through violating the fundamental rights of Georgian citizens, including the right of defense and appealing of court rulings.”

“Before standing trial and the execution of the courts' rulings, the Georgian citizens were kept in pre-trial detention cells in extremely grave, inhumane conditions that can be considered as a restraint of freedom under conditions of torture and ill-treatment,” the commission said.

The conclusion also notes that the deported citizens no longer have access to their movable and immovable property left on the territory of Russian Federation.
 
“This should be considered an illegal restriction of property rights by the Russian Federation,” the conclusion reads.

Lawmakers from both the ruling National Movement and opposition parties hailed the conclusion.

The parliament unanimously passed a resolution on February 16 condemning Russia’s actions against Georgians.

The parliament also recommended the Georgian Justice Ministry to protect the interests of those Georgians whose rights were abused in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

This recommendation is not legally binding for the government, and it is still not clear whether Tbilisi will file a lawsuit against Russia in the ECHR.

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