Public Defender Requests Investigation into a Fact of Illegal Detention of Citizens

On February 23, 2015, the Public Defender addressed Chief Prosecutor of Georgia with a proposal to start investigation into a fact of illegal detention of three Bulgarian citizens.

According to the accused, on August 15, 2014, at 15.00, they were travelling in a taxi in the direction of Batumi for the purpose of leaving for Sofia (Bulgaria). At that time, their car was stopped by policemen, all three of them were distributed in police cars separately and personal searches were conducted that ended at approximately 24.00, at night. Additionally, the policemen failed to provide them with translation or opportunity to contact a lawyer, did not explain their rights and were not allowing them to move. They compelled the detained to sign to unknown documents that were drawn up in an unfamiliar for them (Georgian) language. Following the personal searches, at 24.00, they were transferred to a police department, where they were kept till 12.00 on August 16. Afterwards they were taken to one of the hotels,were placed under the police supervision, all three of them in one room. On the same day, at 17.00 an official procedure of arrest was carried out and relevant acts were drawn up.

It should be noted that Batumi City Court passed a judgment on the detention of the Bulgarian citizens at the request of a prosecutor at 13.30 on August 16.

According to the court Judgment of August 19, Batumi City Court considers that at the time of the detention of the accused the Criminal Procedure Code was essentially breached since they were detained not at the time indicated in the detention act but at the moment of restriction of their freedom of movement.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia, an individual is considered detained starting from the moment of restriction of freedom of movement. As of the moment of detention an individual is considered to be an accused.

Despite the fact that the Bulgarian citizens were detained on August 15, 2014, upon the detention they were not explained their rights, also, acts on their detention were not drawn up on the spot or in the police department, they were not presented with a copies of decrees on accusation within 48 hours from detention that constitutes essential violation of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia. It is an imperative requirement of the supreme law of Georgia that a response needs to be made in case of unconstitutional restriction of liberty of an individual – the right safeguarded and protected by the Constitution. In accordance with the article 100 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia, upon receiving information regarding a crime prosecution and investigation are obliged to start investigation.

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