Parliament Adopts Controversial June 20 Amnesty Law

Georgian Parliament adopted in its third hearing the controversial amnesty law granting clemency to any wrongdoers, both protesters and law enforcement officers, during the anti-occupation unrests of June 20-21, 2019 in downtown Tbilisi.

Penned as per the EU-brokered April 19 deal, the law pardons any crime done, planned, or attempted except for grave injury, torture, threat of torture and inhumane treatment. It covers concluded, ongoing or possible future investigations. Also, those entitled to amnesty will be allowed to refuse it.

Despite having quit the agreement on July 28, the ruling Georgian Dream party lawmakers chose to follow through with the law, endorsing it with 79 votes against 15.

Intended as a mechanism to release United National Movement chair Nika Melia, detained on charges of heading mass disturbance outside the Parliament in June 2019, the GD-tabled bill failed to garner opposition support as it covered law enforcement officers as well.

Much of the opposition also protested earlier the provision allowing those entitled to the amnesty to refuse it, citing it was directed against Nika Melia, who decried the initiative. Melia was subsequently released through bail posted by the EU in May.

A group of victims injured during the police dispersal of June 20, 2019 demonstration also protested repeatedly against the bill, but without success.

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