Activists Protest Release of Police Officers Involved in Dispersal of June 20 Protests

Georgian civil rights activists gathered outside Gldani prison in Tbilisi on October 2, where participants of the June 20-21 rallies are kept in custody, to protest against their detention as well as the release of three police officers, who were arrested on charges of exceeding official powers during dispersal of the rally.

Giga Makarashvili, one of the protesters from the civic movement “In the Service of the Country,” spoke of “selective justice” in the country and slammed the Tbilisi City Court for its “shameful” ruling to release the last police officer detained in connection with the June 20 protests on bail.

He also spoke about the grave health condition of several detained protesters, saying that “it is a direct message from [ruling party chairman] Bidzina Ivanishvili that he does not care about justice and he himself establishes justice.” “But quite soon, the society will say no to selective justice, because selective justice is what distances us from Europe,” he said.

Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani did not deny that health condition of several detainees is grave. “One of them is in grave health condition, though I would not call [this condition] alarming,” she said, adding that the patient is undergoing all necessary medical procedures.

Public Defender Nino Lomjaria also plans to probe into the cases of released police officers. She said that it would be interesting to view the documents, which served as the basis for releasing them.

“Today, we witness the fact when all police officers have been released, but protesters remain in custody. Health condition of some of them is alarming. It is important to get acquainted with the case files to clarify whether there was an unequal attitude… it would be logical to sentence police officers to imprisonment; otherwise, the risk of influence on investigation would be higher,” she said.

Investigation into the fact of exceeding official powers by law enforcement officers was launched on June 24.

A total of three law enforcement officers were charged with exceeding official power in connection with the June 20-21 developments. The Prosecutor’s Office arrested one police officer on July 15 and the other – on July 16. On August 28, the Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against the third police officer.

The court released two of them on bail earlier. The third one was released on September 27 with his defense lawyer citing his health condition as the reason.

According to official data, 240 persons, including about 40 journalists were injured during the June 20-21 dispersal. Two persons lost their eyesight.

In parallel, the Prosecutor’s Office has launched investigation in connection with “organizing, leading and participating” in mass violence during the unrests on the night of 20-21 June.

19 people have been charged with group violence, including Irakli Okruashvili, Georgia’s former defense minister and now leader of opposition movement, and Nika Melia, lawmaker of the United National Movement. Melia and one more protester were released on bail. However, 17 other people, including Okruashvili, remain in custody.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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