Statement of the Public Defender
The Public Defender of Georgia made a statement concerning the facts of repeated hindrance of the activities of the Public Defender’s representatives by the prison staff in the penitentiary establishments. The Public Defender has applied to the Minister of Corrections of Georgia with a recommendation to conduct internal official inquiry into the above facts as early as 8 May, 2014.
The mentioned recommendation contains detailed description of facts of hindrance. Importantly, in one case, one of the staff members of the prison N7 addressed aggressively and in impolite manner the Public Defender’s representatives, who were trying to check the validity of seals on the confidential complaint box, and called them to enter attorney-client meeting room. In order to avoid further growth of tension, the representatives decided to enter the attorney-client meeting room and to inquire into the reasons for such aggressive behavior. The mentioned prison staff member abstained from giving any explanations and locked the representatives in the meeting room.
On several occasions, the Public Defender’s representatives were not allowed to immediately visit a prisoner in his cell. Furthermore, in prison N7 and prison N15 the representatives were denied to enter the prison territory with wrist watches, which they needed in the work process.
The Public Defender believes that the abovementioned facts shall be assessed as a creation of impediments to the work of his authorized representatives, which constitutes a violation of Georgian law. In the light of foregoing, there is an urgent need for the Ministry of correction to conduct internal official inquiry and take appropriate measures against prison staff responsible.