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Statement

03.07.2009
The Human Rights Center assesses the initiative of the parliamentary majority of Georgia on legislative changes as negative and considers the planned amendments aim to restrict the freedom of expression.

The draft-amendments to the law aim to introduce changes into the Administrative Code, in the Law on Assembling and Manifestation and Law on Police.

According to the draft-amendments, the imprisonment term under Administrative Law shall be extended from one to three months and it is completely unacceptable initiative. While the pretrial detention lasts only for two months, the imprisonment under Administrative Law shall not last for three months because administrative crime is a minor offence.

In addition to that, the draft amendments to the Law on Police are also unacceptable because it enables law enforcers to use non-lateral weapon against demonstrators. Georgian law enforcement officers have already used rubber bullets against demonstrators several times though it was prohibited under the law (November 7, 2007; May 6, 2009). Nevertheless, no offender was punished for the crime. The legislative initiative is attempt of the government to justify their offences committed against the demonstrators. The law is not reflexive and similar amendments shall not justify those people who ordered purchase and use of similar weapon. The government exposes its wish to use rubber, plastic and other sorts of bullets against the people who participate in the rallies.
 
With all abovementioned consequences, the Human Rights Center thinks that introduction of the amendments into the law will lead the country to the establishment of the authoritarian regime which will result into lowering the level of democracy in Georgia which is already widely discussed in the recommendations and reports of the international organizations.

The Human Rights Center thinks that making the law more severe will not result into reduction of crimes; furthermore, similar amendments will not reduce the number of dissatisfied people. Consequently, the number of people with different opinion will also increase and it will negatively affect the reputation of the country. 

The Human Rights Center calls upon the public organizations to be braver to express their opinions about the upcoming amendments in order to prevent corresponding bodies to enact them.

"Human Rights Center"

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