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Georgian Young Lawyers' Association has prepared a special report: "Georgia: human rights Amidst of Russian law"

2024-06-10 12:04
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The report reviews the violent methods through which the government tries to narrow civil space in Georgia during the two months from the initiation of the bill to its adoption. According to the report, these methods include: gross violations of freedom of assembly; systematic violence by law enforcement officers; encouragement of violence by high political officials; instrumentalization of criminal and administrative legal mechanisms to intimidate protest participants; and intimidation of rally participants, protest supporters, civil activists, journalists, politicians, and their family members (including children and elderly family members), using various methods of psychological and physical violence against them. In particular:

I. Physical safety: Multiple instances of physical violence and verbal abuse by law enforcement officers and third parties against opponents of the draft law have been identified. The investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Service faces significant challenges in this regard.

II. Freedom of peaceful assembly: from the initiation of the Russian law to the present day, the policing measures at the ongoing actions have been mostly illegal and disproportionate. The investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Service faces significant challenges in this regard.

III. Freedom of expression: The trend of restricting the freedom of expression and security of media representatives, which started in previous years, significantly worsened after the initiation of the Russian law, and the cases of illegal interference in the professional activities of journalists became even more frequent. The investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Service in this regard has significant challenges.

IV. Right to freedom and security: In the period of April-May 2024, about 200 people were detained during the ongoing protests against the Russian law. Ensuring the right to a fair trial was an important challenge for them. Groundless administrative detentions serve to suppress the momentum of the protest and intimidate citizens. Multiple criminal cases have been initiated against protest participants, resulting in the arrest of eight individuals. As investigations and arrests persist, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is summoning more rally participants for questioning. This extensive summons for questioning regarding demonstrations against the Russian law raises suspicion that the Ministry is utilizing questioning as another form of legal intimidation against protesters. The criminal proceedings targeting rally participants seem aimed at quelling the protest's momentum and intimidating citizens.

V. Other methods of repression: In addition to physical violence, there have been numerous cases of intimidation and threats against demonstrators and representatives of civil society, as well as activists critical of the Russian law. On May 31, 2024, a public post by a member of the parliamentary majority, Dimitri Samkharadze, shed light on the organized repression orchestrated by high-ranking state representatives. This repression, he indicated, is supported by them, leveraging the lenient policies of various state institutions. For instance, alongside the ongoing ineffective investigations by law

enforcement agencies, the stance of the Personal Data Protection Service is concerning. They concluded their examination of cases involving telephone calls as a form of repression without probing whether the data was acquired through access to state databases. This failure to investigate the source of the data undermines the authority of the investigative bodies.

Georgian Young Lawyer’s association Continues to document rights violations and protect the affected. Based on evidence, GYLA will identified and inform the public about facts that undermine the constitutional principles of a democratic, legal and social state.