Parliament passed with its first reading on July 23 a legislative amendment envisaging reduction of maximum term of imprisonment for administrative offenses from current 90 to 15 days.
Georgia’s justice system differentiates between administrative offenses, which are misdemeanors, and criminal offenses. Penalties for administrative offenses range from a fine to imprisonment for up to 90 days. Maximum imprisonment term for administrative offenses was increased from 30 to 90 days following anti-government street protest rallies in 2009.
The bill also tightens detention procedures and broadens detainees’ rights.
Under the currently existing code, the police have at least 12 hours to issue administrative offense protocol – a formal statement of a detaining police officer laying out grounds for the detention, meaning that a person can be held in detention for hours without knowing formal grounds of his or her detention.
Under the proposed amendments a detaining police officer will be required to inform a detainee about grounds of detention immediately upon the detention occurs.
The police will also be required to read rights to a detainee immediately upon the detention.
The police, according to the bill, will have to take a detainee to a nearest police station immediately upon the detention.
A detainee should also be notified about having the right to name a person whom he or she may want to inform about the detention.
Vakhtang Khmaladze, MP from GD ruling coalition who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, told lawmakers at a parliamentary session on July 23 that these legislative amendments were drafted in close cooperation with the Interior Ministry.