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Late School Principal’s Family Sues Georgian State in ECHR

Bachana Shengelia, son of Ia Kerzaia, the principal of Public School N6 in Zugdidi, who died after being reportedly pressured to join the campaign of ruling party-endorsed candidate Salome Zurabishvili in last year’s presidential polls, has filed a lawsuit against the Georgian State in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Bachana Shengelia’s defense lawyer, Levan Makharashvili said that the plaintiff is suing the State over Article 2 (right to life), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  

“Not only the right to life was violated [in Kerzaia’s case], but also the investigation into the case was not effective, as well as discrimination [against Kerzaia since the very beginning] took place on political grounds,” Makharashvili said.

“Now, we will hear the final say [about the case] from Europe and I hope that our government will not try to exert pressure on the court,” Bachana Shengelia wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.

Two inspectors from the Ministry of Education carried out an inspection in the Public School N6 in Zugdidi, the capital of Western Georgia’s Samegrelo region, in November 2018, ahead of the Presidential run-off. 

Kerzaia’s family claims the inspection was approved after the school principal refused to cooperate with the authorities and join the campaign of the ruling party-endorsed candidate, Salome Zurabishvili.

The inspectors released their conclusion two weeks later, recommending the school’s governing board to dismiss the principal. Kerzaia was hospitalized with a stroke on December 2, and died couple of days later. The family claims her health condition worsened as a result of pressure coming from the authorities.

Probe into Kerzaia’s case was launched on February 11, 2019 for “the possible abuse of power by certain employees of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia” following Kerzaia’s son, Bachana Shengelia’s appeal. Following a six-month investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office suspended probe “due to the absence of crime” into Kerzaia’s death.

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


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