GYLA on UNM Office Raid, Melia Detention

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), key local watchdog, on February 24 said the use of special chemicals by the police during the UNM office raid to detain Nika Melia “violated the law and international standards.”

The watchdog stated that special chemicals shall be employed to “incapacitate violent resistance,” not in response to passive resistance – that UNM supporters offered the police – in a closed space lacking “adequate ventilation.”

Moreover, GYLA said the Interior Ministry’s seizure of computer hardware from UNM headquarters “is an investigative action strictly regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code.” “The relevant authorities must explain to the public the substantiated legitimate purpose of the investigation,” the watchdog stressed.

Regarding administrative detentions of citizens near the UNM headquarters, GYLA said it is “inadmissible” for police to employ detentions “to suppress a peaceful protest” or to “remove persons from a place.”

In addition, the watchdog recalled that “police unjustifiably denied protesters the right to set up a tent” during protests outside the Parliament building recently, interfering in the demonstrator’s right to assembly.

GYLA called on the Georgian Government to “take constructive steps to bring the country out of the political crisis, while also preventing interference with the right of assembly/ demonstration and allowing demonstrators to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights.”

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