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Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association’s Statement

2023-03-02 23:03
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Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association echoes the facts of the administrative detention of demonstrators and journalists at the rally in front of the Parliament of Georgia on the evening of March 2, 2023.

As it turns out from publicly available sources, the arrest of the participants of the rally near the legislative body began after the demonstrators moved to one of the entrances of the parliament and announced that they were organizing a corridor of shame for the members of the parliamentary majority. The rally is being held to protest the consideration of draft laws on "agents of foreign influence" at the Parliament. At the moment (11:15 p.m.), according to public sources, approximately 20 people have been detained administratively.

We emphasize that law enforcement officers should act with respect for the rights enshrined within the Constitution and Convention, not to use disproportionate force, in particular, arrest as an last resort, and to ensure the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression by demonstrators and media representatives.

It should be emphasized that, based on the Code of Administrative Offenses adopted during the Soviet Union (1984), the state has been restricting the space for people enjoying the right to assembly and expression for years, which significantly damages the human rights situation in the country.

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association calls for:

1. Ministry of Internal Affairs

- To ensure the realization of the right to freedom of assembly of peaceful demonstrators and also the unhindered implementation of professional activities by journalists.

- Detainees are given the opportunity to enjoy their constitutional right to timely meet with lawyers defending their interests and to inform their family members about their arrest.

2. Special investigative service

- To examine the facts of detention/alleged injury of media representatives/demonstrators and have a prompt response to the disproportionate interference in the freedom of assembly/expression as a practice with the chilling effect of limiting the fundamental right.