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37 Detained Protesters Released Pending Court Hearing

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All 37 activists detained during the dispersal of the protest outside the Parliament entrances on November 18 were released from administrative detention in the night of November 19. The court adjourned the hearings to 1.30PM Tbilisi time.

The police detained 37 protesters on charges of petty hooliganism and disobedience to police orders on Sunday evening during the picketing of the Georgian Parliament. The protests erupted in the capital after the ruling party backtracked on its commitment to revise the electoral law.

Defense lawyers and independent observers noted that the hearings in the case of detained protesters were held in violation of procedures, affecting the rights of the detained.

Most of the criticisms concerning the due process were related to expedient review, since Judge Valerian Pilishvili was alone in charge of reviewing all 37 cases. Public Defender Nino Lomjaria noted during the day that for guaranteeing the rights of the detainees “it was paramount to involve other judges” in the process.

In addition, the defense noted that the prosecutors were not acquainted with individual cases and often did not present any material proof of the offense, apart from the policemen reports who, in some cases, could not personally identify the detainees. Giorgi Mshvenieradze, who represented several detainees reported that the judge gave him only 6 minutes to defend 4 persons.

Mshvenieradze, as well as other defense lawyers reported that all of the 37 persons were kept in detention for more than 24 hours, as opposed to 12 hours maximum envisaged by law on administrative procedure.

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

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