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Discontent about Alleged Past Conviction of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia

26.12.2013

 
Nino Devidze

On December 23, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava stated at the special briefing in the office of the United National Movement that Chief Prosecutor of Georgia Otar Partskhaladze was convicted for robbery in Germany. UNM representatives claim that in 2001, Augsburg Court found Otar Partskhaladze guilty under Articles 249 and 252 of the Criminal Code of Germany – robbery and thievery and served imprisonment term during one year and three months. Ugulava said at the briefing that besides imprisonment, the court imposed additional punishment on Partskhaladze - “passive election right and deprivation of the right to occupy some positions” and “additional punishment is valid before August 22, 2016.”

UNM representatives call on the government to timely and adequately react on the fact and requested the Minister of Justice to immediately request official documentation from the relevant structures of Germany.
Chief Prosecutor’s Office responded to the accusations of the UNM members with the statement published on their official website. “Since the Chief Prosecutor’s Office intensified the investigation of a number of resonant criminal cases, and liabilities were imposed to the officials of the former Government, including the Mayor of Tbilisi Giorgi Ugulava, the “National Movement” has started, and it turned into an active phase, a purposeful campaign, led by the aforementioned accused, of political blackmail and discredit against the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia. After being blamed in meeting the prisoner I. Merabishvili, placed in the corrections facility, declaring him as a robber today serves the sole purpose – to deliver the Chief Prosecutor from the post held and bring dissonance in organized work of the Prosecutor’s Office.” The Chief Prosecutor’s Office promised “All the questions of the society will be answered exhaustively, and an attempt to make the investigation process look like a political persecution will fail.”

Later Partsakhaladze also spread statement where he noted that it was his obligation to clarify to the society what happened in Germany. “The dirty political campaign activated against me in the last period has reached its peak. I was indeed in Germany in 2000, where an incident happened with German police. A policeman, who had information about a crime committed by other person,  as it turned out later, made a mistake and physically abused me and a conflict was raised in a public place. After talking with the representatives of Law Enforcement Authorities, due to the actual circumstances the court has determined me guilty in having argument with the policeman,” the statement reads. Otar Partskhaladze noted that this incident was not followed by deportation from the country, or any other coercive measures, which once again proves my guiltlessness. 

The Chief Prosecutor did not say anything about the term of punishment. Instead, he noted that “the dirty political campaign activated against me in the last period has reached its peak. As it seems the intensified investigation of resonant cases by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia has “hurt” our opponents and they started to compromise the institution and me personally with dirty intrigues.”

Representatives of nongovernmental organizations also responded to the issue and clarified that in accordance to the Article 33 –“a” of the Law of Georgia on Prosecutor’s Office, “a person with past conviction cannot be employed at the office.” However, in accordance to the Criminal Code of Georgia, past conviction of the person is annulled 8 years after imprisonment terms expire. So, in accordance to the Georgian legislative standards, and formal-legal views, annulled past conviction cannot be obstacle for any governmental official including chief prosecutor. Despite the fact, part of civil society believes a person convicted for robbery shall not be chief prosecutor of Georgia. They call on the government to immediately publish official information about this fact. 
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