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Liberty Institute Criticizes Ombudsman Again
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Jun.'06 / 12:24

The influential non-governmental organization Liberty Institute, which is known for having strong links with official circles, criticized Public Defender Sozar Subari for making “one-sided judgments” over the March 27 prison incident in Tbilisi.

Public Defender Sozar Subari said on June 6 that concerns have increased that the March 27 prison incident in Tbilisi, which resulted in the death of seven inmates, was triggered by prison system chief Bacho Akhalaia after one of the inmates – Paata Mamardashvili, described as criminal authority – testified that he cooperated with the prison officials in fabricating evidence which was designed to prove that the incident was, as officials claim, a well-planned prison riot aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country.
“I don't think it is serious when one-sided judgments are made based on [the testimonies] of this man [inmate Paata Mamardashvili] and it is assumed that what he says is true,” Tea Tutberidze from the Liberty Institute told Rustavi 2 television on June 7.

But she also added that the investigators should start probing into this testimony by Mamardashvili.

Sozar Subari admitted on June 6 that “we cannot yet claim that Mamardashvili’s testimony is true,” but still felt that Mamardashvili's statements gave reason to cast doubts over the version proposed by officials about the March 27 prison incident.

The General Prosecutor’s Office plans to interrogate Mamardashvili over his testimonies on June 7. Representatives of the Public Defender’s Office will also attend the interrogation.

The Public Defender – himself a former employee of the Liberty Institute – was criticized by this influential group in May as well, after Sozar Subari slammed the law enforcement agencies for excessive use of force in police operations against criminal suspects.

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