The legal case of two former state experts accused of attempted land ceding to Azerbaijan, commonly referred to as “Cartographers’ Case,” has been sent to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
According to the Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), a watchdog representing one of the defendants, the ECtHR claim concerns the detention of Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilichova, the state experts, in a period from October 7, 2020, to January 28, 2021.
The Strasbourg application reportedly focuses on the restriction of the right to liberty of the experts “for a purpose incompatible with” the European Convention on Human Rights.
“The applicants claim that their detention was a part of the political agenda of the ruling party,” GDI says. The claimants, however, also argue violations of several other articles of the European Convention, the watchdog adds.
Two experts were detained in October last year on charges under Article 308 (1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving “actions directed at the violation of the territorial integrity of the country,” which carries the prison term of ten to fifteen years. The timing of the detention, among others, happening in a campaign phase ahead of the October 31 parliamentary elections, raised doubts that the case was politically charged.
The “cartographers” were subsequently released on bail on January 28 after Tbilisi City Court satisfied the prosecution’s motion to change the preventive measure, but the case continues to be examined on the merits at the first instance court.
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