Arbitrary detention of Mr. Giorgi Mshvenieradze

GEO 001 / 1103 / OBS 063

17/11/2003
Urgent Appeal

Brief description of the situation :

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights and Information
Documentation Center (HRIDC) that Mr. Giorgi Mshvenieradze,
representative of the "Georgian Young Lawyers Association", Kutaisi
branch, was sentenced to three months of preliminary detention on 5
November 2003, by the Kobuleti Regional Court, in the Autonomous
Republic of Adjara.

According to the information received, Mr. Giorgi Mshvenieradze,
having status of observer for the parliamentary elections, conducted
parallel counting of the votes on November 2, in Kobuleti (election
region 81), Dagvi village (election district 23). During his
observations, Mr. Mshvenieradze noted serious violations of the
election process in the polling station. When he asked the members of
the election commission to write down and take note of these
violations, he was beaten and arrested by officers of the local
prosecutors office.

Mr. Giorgi Mshvenieradze was firstly accused of violation and
hindering of the election process (articles 162 of the criminal code)
and hampering the activities of the election or referendum commission
(article 163). On 4 November, these charges changed and he was
accused of acts of hooliganism committed by the use of guns or any
objects serving as a weapon (article 239.3 of the criminal code),
resistance against the protector of public order or any other
government representative (article 353 of the Criminal code) and
violation of article 162.

His three-month preliminary detention sentence implies that he will
be judged again at the end of his prison-term.

The Observatory is very concerned by the sentence pronounced against
Mr. Mshvenieradze, which it considers arbitrary since it only aims at
sanctioning his activity as an election observer.

This sentence occurred in a context of troubles and acts of
intimidation, in the aftermath of elections who were considered by
many observers as fraudulous. These frauds and acts of intimidations
were particularly acute in the A.R of Adjara, where 51 observers were
reportedly prevented from conducting parallel counting and where
different kinds of pressure by the members of the election commission
were reported, including acts of beatings of NGOs representatives in
Kobuleti. This was confirmed by the OSCE who placed Adjara among the
regions where irregularities in the election process were the most
blatant.

Action requested :

Please write to the authorities of Georgia and local authorities of
the A.R of Adjara urging them to :

i. Ensure that Mr. Giorgi Mshvenieradze be immediately released since
his detention is arbitrary;
ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the security and physical
integrity of human rights defenders in Georgia;
iii. Conform to the provisions of the Declaration on Humans Rights
Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on
December 9, 1998, in particular article 1, which states that
"everyone has the right, individually or in association with others,
to promote the protection and realization of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" and
6.a, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in
association with others, to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold
information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
including having access to information, as how those rights and
freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or
administrative systems;
iv. Conform to the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human
Rights and international human rights instruments ratified by
Georgia;

Addresses :

- State Chancellary: President: Eduard SHEVARDNADZE ; Address: 7
Ingorokhva Street. 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia; Phone: (+995 32) 99 96 53
; Fax: (+995 32) 99 96 30 / 99 08 79 / 98 23 54
E-mail: office@presidpress.gov.ge

- National Security Council of Georgia: Secretary: Tedo JAPARIDZE;
Address: 7 Ingorokhva Street. 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia; Phone: (+995
32) 93 23 22 ; Fax: (+995 32) 98 99 72 ; E-mail: snsc@gol.ge
- Human Rights Service of the NSC: Tel: (995 32) 93-13-22 ; Fax: (995
32) 92-35-58

- The Interior Ministry of Georgia; Minister: Mr.Koba NARCHEMASHVILI;
Phone: (+995 32) 99 80 50; (+995 32) 99 95 55; Fax: (+995 32) 98 71
46 ; 99 95 24; E-mail:
miapress@gol.ge

- State Security Ministry of Georgia; Minister: Mr. Valeri
KHABURZANIA ; Address: 4 April 9 Street. 380008 Tbilisi, Georgia;
Phone: (+995 32) 93 27 91; Fax: (+995 32) 93
27 91

- Ms. Nana BICHIASHVILI; Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human
Rights Petitions and Relations with the Civil Society; Address:
Parliament of Georgia. 8
Rustaveli Avenue. 380018 Tbilisi, Georgia; Phone: (+995 32) 99 69 51
; Fax: (+995 32) 92 15 63 ; 92 33 50;
E-mail: hremcmt@parliament.ge

- A. e. Minister of Justice ; Ms. Mariam Tsatsanashvili; 19,
Griboedov st, Tbilisi, 380008, Georgia
Phone: (+995 32) 93 27 21; 93 50 49; Fax: (+995 32) 93 02 25

- Mr Nugzar GABRICHIDZE; General Prosecutor of Georgia; 24 Gorgasali
st, 380014, Tbilisi, Georgia; Phone: (+995 32) 98 21 54; 93 23 44; 93
68 45; 99 06 68; Fax: (+995
32) 98 21 70

- Adjara authorities :
Aslan Abashidze, Head of Adjarian Supreme Council, address: 3/5,
Freedom st. Batumi.
Phone: (995222) 7-00-17

Paris - Geneva, 17 November 2003

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the
code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the
protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete
support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax: FIDH : +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT : (+ 41 22) 809 49 39 / 809 49 29
E-mail : observatoire@iprolink.ch

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