MINELRES: Georgia: SOS! Prisoner of conscience: PMMG observer was arrested!

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu May 1 13:11:43 2008


Original sender: Alexandra Kalatozishvili <pmmg@caucasus.net>


Dear all,

On 23rd April was arrested one of the most active PMMG observers in
Marneuli district (Kvemo Kartli region) which was conducting
pre-election monitoring in this region. Tomorrow, on 1st May, at 15:00
p.m. we are organizing briefing at our office (82 Iv.Javakhishvili Str.)
dedicated to this particular case. 

We really hope for your support and attention to given fact of pressure
against members of the observation corps directed by NGOs, of which PMMG
is a representative in this particular case.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information if
necessary.

Sincerely,

Alexandra Kalatozishvili
PMMG
Elections Programmes Coordinator
Address: 82 Iv.Javakhishvili Str., Tbilisi, 0112 Georgia
Tel/Fax: +995 32 91 05 57
Cell: +995 99 68 68 96
e-mail: pmmg@caucasus.net; pmmg@pmmg.org.ge


---------------------------------------
Press release

On the 23rd of April 2008 Mr. Sabir Mekhtiev was arrested by
law-enforcement authorities in Marneuli district. He is one of the most
active observers of the organization Public Movement "Multinational
Georgia" (PMMG) and in this district he was involved in pre-election
monitoring in respect of the parliamentary elections, scheduled to take
place on the 21st of May.

We contend that prior to this event representatives from the local
branch of ProCredit Bank had attempted to exert pressure on Mr.
S.Mekhtiev, by threatening to confiscate or confiscating his and his
parents' property, in order to persuade him to cease his public
activities. 

In 2004 Mr. S.Mekhtiev applied for and was granted a loan from the
above-mentioned Bank for 4000 Georgian lari, to pay for the medical
treatment of a child, who died soon afterwards. It is alleged that the
arrested person displayed 'armed resistance' and threatened bodily harm
against representatives of the Bank and law enforcement authorities when
they visited him at his house. According to their statements, they
allege that during their visit he expressed a desire "to go" into the
kitchen and take a knife. 

The extraordinary measures taken by the Bank in respect to Mr.
S.Mekhtiev confirm our suspicions relating to the pressure being applied
to PMMG observers, as the representatives of the Bank who came to see
Mr. S.Mekhtiev were accompanied by representatives of law enforcement
bodies, which is not normal procedure. In addition, the Bank has chosen
to confiscate his property in order to pay off the outstanding debts he
owes them; however it is known that they do not undertake any comparable
measures in relation to several hundred similarly indebted customers. It
is clear that in the case of Mr. S.Mekhtiev the Bank has taken an
extreme line.

In fact we contend that the measures taken by the Bank were used for the
direct purpose of provoking a criminal act by this individual, so that
he could be arrested. Any other interpretation cannot account for the
fact that the employees of the Bank were accompanied by armed
representatives of law enforcement bodies when they visited Mr.
S.Mekhtiev, rather than the case being addressed, as stipulated in the
contract between Mr. S.Mekhtiev and the Bank, by alternative methods
advocated by the Civil Code of Georgia.

The arrest of Mr. S.Mekhtiev for the above-stated reason is absolutely
unacceptable. We believe this to have been in fact a false arrest,
because no actual resistance was displayed on Mr. S.Mekhtiev's side.

We also wish to underline that, when they visited Mr. S.Mekhtiev, the
Bank employees were accompanied by at least 20 members of the law
enforcement community. It should also be noted that at this time the
representative of Gamgeoba administrative area and territorial unit
Sadakhlo, Mr. Aflatun Valiev, called Mr. S.Mekhtiev and asked him to
cease his activities in respect of pre-election monitoring and to begin
working for the authorities instead. If he agreed, Mr. A.Valiev promised
Mr. S.Mekhtiev that he would call off the Bank and law enforcement
employees. 

PMMG is therefore making this protest, both to law enforcement bodies,
and to representatives of ProCredit Bank, that they should cease any
activities such as has been described above, which intend to exert
pressure against members of the observation corps directed by NGOs, of
which PMMG is a representative in this particular case.

We apply to the Public Defender, to the public of Georgia and the
international community to pay due and adequate attention to this case,
and also to demand from law enforcement bodies that they observe
constitutional frameworks and immediately release the prisoner of
conscience - Mr. Sabir Mekhtiev - from his imprisonment, pending a
trial.

---------------------------------------------
This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/