About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
Ombudsman Speaks Out on Opposition Politician’s Trial
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Aug.'07 / 14:10

A court verdict against an opposition politician, Irakli Batiashvili, was “unjustified” and was made on the basis of insufficient evidence, Sozar Subari, the public defender, said.

Tbilisi City Court found Irakli Batiashvili guilty of providing “intellectual assistance,” essentially providing advice, to a rebel warlord, Emzar Kvitsiani, and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment in May.

Batiashvili denied the charges, saying they were politically-motivated. Most opposition parties in Georgia, as well as some human right groups, describe Batiashvili as “a political prisoner.” The case was raised by opposition leaders at a meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza in Tbilisi on July 27.

The public defender launched a probe into the case following an appeal by Batiashvili and his defense lawyer, Soso Baratashvili, in May.

Batiashvili, who was a member of the opposition Forward Georgia party, was Georgia’s security chief in the early 1990s. He was arrested on July 29, 2006, shortly after Emzar Kvitsiani, the leader of a paramilitary group based in upper Kodori Gorge, defiantly challenged the central authorities.

On August 1, 2006, the General Prosecutor’s Office released a taped phone conversation between Kvitsiani and Batiashvili, wherein Batiashvili tells the rebel warlord to “stand firm” and to call on government troops “not to use force and not to shed blood.”

The taped phone conversation was the main piece of evidence against Batiashvili. Defense lawyers claimed that it had been fabricated, with prosecutors selectively editing to incriminate their client.

The public defender's report has given credence to this line of argument, saying that the court had failed “to fully investigate” the matter.

“The content of the taped phone conversations and their transcripts presented at the trial were not the same. Despite this, the judge ignored defense attorneys’ appeal to carry out an expert forensic examination,” the public defender’s report says.

It also says that the court “intentionally shied away” from summoning witnesses who could have given testimony in favor of Batiashvili.

The document also points out that Batiashvili’s conviction was “a grave violation” of “the accessory concept” wherein an accessory is normally tried after the principal has been convicted. Emzar Kvitsiani, who is wanted on charges of treason and attempting to plot a coup, is stiill at large and hasn't been tried.

“Hence, Kvitsiani still remains innocent, as he hasn't been convicted (presumption of innocence),” the document reads. “For this reason, Batiashvili was convicted for aiding and abetting a crime, which hasn't been even proven in court.” 

“Based on an analysis of the case, it's clear that the ruling by Tbilisi City Court was unjustified, and was based on insufficient evidence," the report reads. "This ammounted to a violation of Batiashvili’s right to a fair trial.” 

The public defender has requested that the Council of Justice – a body overseeing the judiciary’s performance - launch disciplinary proceedings against Judge Maia Tetrauli, who presided over Batiashvili’s trial.

Latest News
01 May.'18 10:55
We Have Moved to a New Platform
Direct Your Bookmarks to https://civil.ge.
29 Apr.'18 03:54
Ruling Party Candidate Wins MP By-Elections
Givi Chichinadze will represent Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency in the Parliament of Georgia.
28 Apr.'18 09:40
Polls Open for Vani and Khoni MP By-Elections
48,123 voters are eligible to cast their ballots in Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency.
27 Apr.'18 17:23
State Dept’s Europe Affairs Point Man to Visit Tbilisi
Wess Mitchell will meet senior government officials and address the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum.
27 Apr.'18 13:45
In Quotes: Georgian Politicians on Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Comeback
Bidzina Ivanishvili will be approved as the Georgian Dream party chairman at the upcoming convention.
26 Apr.'18 18:15
SG Jens Stoltenberg: Georgia NATO’s ‘Very Close’ Partner
The NATO Secretary General says Foreign Ministers meeting tomorrow will recognize the country’s progress.
26 Apr.'18 14:24
Ex-PM Ivanishvili to Chair Georgian Dream Party
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Ivanishvili was ‘best equipped’ to add new dynamism to the party.
26 Apr.'18 11:12
Lawmaker Proposes Criminal Liability for ‘Insult of Religious Feelings’
The parliamentary human rights committee decided to set up a working group for scrutinizing the draft law.
25 Apr.'18 17:21
New Abkhaz Government Head Appointed
Gennady Gagulia has served as the Abkhaz “prime minister” twice - in 1995-1997, and 2002-2003.
25 Apr.'18 14:43
Watchdog Improves Georgia’s Press Freedom Ranking
None of the countries of the former Soviet Union (except the Baltics) are ranked ahead of Georgia.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2022, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.