Parliament Speaker Suspends MP Right to Visit Saakashvili without Special Permit
The Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili suspended authorizing MPs’ visits to the imprisoned third president Mikheil Saakashvili, the Parliament of Georgia announced on December 30. MPs will no longer be able to enter the penitentiary system without a special permit.
Notably, the procedure for entering a penitentiary institution with a special permit is defined by the Justice Minister, according to the Imprisonment Code of Georgia.
According to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia, an MP may, by an order of the Chairperson of the Parliament, be granted the right to enter a penitentiary institution functioning in the territory of Georgia without special permission based on a request from him/her, a relevant committee or a temporary investigative commission.
The Speaker’s decision, according to the Parliament, follows the tightening of security measures by the Special Penitentiary Service. The Justice Minister, Parliament says, informed the Speaker of the tighter regulations in a letter dated December 27 and “requested that the said circumstance be considered while making a decision on the issuance of permits to members of the Parliament.”
Parliament says the Speaker has authorized 228 visits by MPs to Saakashvili since October 3, 2021, which is more than sufficient to accomplish the goals of such visits. ”The appeal of the members of the Parliament to be granted this right [to visit Saakashvili] has long gone beyond the scope of the purpose noted in the appeal – i.e., familiarization with the conditions in which the prisoner is serving his sentence – and is being used for personal or working meetings with the prisoner, which has been repeatedly pointed out by the Chairman of the Parliament,” the legislative added.
In addition, Parliament asserted that since Saakashvili’s lawyers and Public Defender’s Office have an opportunity to visit him, “the effective monitoring of the conditions under which Mikheil Saakashvili is serving his sentence has been fully ensured.”
According to the Parliament’s statement, the permits issued as of today for the week of 2 January 2023 will remain in force.
Mikheil Saakashvili’s lawyer Shalva Khachapuridze reacted to the Speaker’s decision. According to Khachapuridze, the suspension of MPs’ visits to Saakashvili is “a complete violation of judicial norms” and part of “repressions” aiming to isolate Mikheil Saakashvili and exert physiological pressure on him.
The decision of the Parliament Speaker and the postponement of the hearing on Saakashvili’s case, according to Khatia Dekanoidze, head of the United National Movement’s parliamentary faction, are attempts to isolate the imprisoned former president. “His [Saakashvili] health will further deteriorate,” she said.
- 30/12/2022 – Hearing on Saakashvili’s Case Postponed to January 9
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