Public Defender Files Amicus Curiae Brief relating to Alleged Disability-Based Discrimination
On March 15, 2023, the Public Defender of Georgia filed an amicus curiae brief with Tbilisi City Court relating to a case of alleged discrimination on the ground of disability.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, who is a wheelchair user, could not visit his son in prison, as the environment in the penitentiary facility was not adapted for wheelchair users, and in exchange for the opportunity to be accompanied by a personal assistant, he was offered a degrading and dangerous transportation.
Since the issue concerns the provision of an accessible environment in a less studied and highly specific space such as places of restriction of liberty, and since the obstacles to visiting prisoners by family members in the penitentiary institutions may have a negative impact on the interest of prisoners’ relatives on the one hand and on the prisoners’ rights on the other hand, the Public Defender, who is performing the functions of the anti-discrimination mechanism, the National Preventive Mechanism and the monitoring mechanism of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, considered it important to prepare an amicus curiae brief regarding the mentioned lawsuit.
The Public Defender drew attention to the national and international standards relating to the accessibility of penitentiary facilities, prisoners’ right to receive visitors and other rights related to the above, as well as the obligation of reasonable accommodation. In addition, he emphasized the factual circumstances relevant to the case and the issue of distribution of the burden of proof in discrimination-related cases.