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Statement of non-governmental organizations on the criminal case of Giorgi Rurua

31.07.2020

 
The signatory organizations respond to the guilty verdict handed down by the Tbilisi City Court against Giorgi Rurua on 30 July. We believe that the violations identified during the proceedings and the current context raise reasonable doubts that the decision was politically motivated.

On July 30, Judge Valerian Bugianishvili of the Criminal Panel of the Tbilisi City Court sentenced Giorgi Rurua to a 4 years’ imprisonment. The court found Giorgi Rurua guilty of committing a crime under Article 236, Parts 3 and 4 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which includes illegal purchase, storage and carrying of firearms and ammunition. Furthermore, the defendant was charged with another offense under Article 381 Part 1 of the Criminal Code, which implies a failure to execute or interference with the execution of a final judgment or other court decision. The judge found the accused guilty in this part as well.

Monitoring the court hearings in Rurua’s case by the Human Rights Center (HRC) revealed that Giorgi Rurua, during his personal search and various investigative / procedural actions, was unlawfully restricted the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia and international human rights instruments. Namely: the accused was denied to contact a lawyer and family members at the moment of arrest; No rights and duties were explained to the detainee; The personal search of Giorgi Rurua as well the search of his car was carried out with significant violations of the criminal procedural law; In drawing up the report of personal search and in sealing the firearm the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code were violated; The investigator carried out a number of investigative actions without the participation of the defence counsel; The procedural violations existing on the case together with opinions of various experts put under doubts the relatedness of Giorgi Rurua with the firearm and the authenticity of the evidence. 

Prosecution on political grounds has recently become a weapon to influence political opponents or critical media outlets. In this regard, the initiation of criminal proceedings against Giorgi Rurua is also dubiously connected with his activation in the social-political realm and the acquisition of a share in the opposition television. The criminal case launched against Giorgi Rurua has attracted attention of the media, the public and the political spectrum since the day of his arrest. In parallel with the trial, and especially in recent times, critical statements by representatives of Georgia's partner states have become more frequent, in which, directly or indirectly, the ongoing investigation against Giorgi Rurua has been associated with political motives of the authorities. Having this in mind, it should be noted that one of the conditions of the March 8 agreement was the non-use of justice for political purposes, which is also relevant in the case of Giorgi Rurua. 

According to the signatory organizations, the above-mentioned facts and the overall context raise questions about the legality of the verdict in the criminal case of Giorgi Rurua and raise reasonable doubts about the presence of political motives in the case.

  • Human Rights Center
  • Georgian Democracy Initiative
  • Institute for Democracy and Safe Development
  • Tolerance and Diversity Institute
  • Transparency International Georgia
  • Sapari 
  • Georgia’s Reforms Association
  • Tbilisi Pride
  • International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy 

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