We respond to Ioseb Gogashvili's case and incident of possible threat against the accused

Statements | Rule of Law and Human Rights 12 August 2022

Criminal case of the former deputy head of the State Security Service of Georgia, Ioseb Gogashvili raises doubts that its aim is to punish the whistleblower and not to enforce justice. Law enforcement bodies must take proper measures in order not to raise any doubts concerning the security of Ioseb Gogashvili and his family. Investigation must be initiated regarding the statement made by Ioseb Gogashvili’s lawyer on August 11.

 

According to the statement of Gogashvili’s lawyer on 11 August, Gogashvili received threat coming from the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia while being in penitentiary institution. Namely, lawyer mentioned that “the accused was taken to the bathroom, where they pointed to the phone on the window-sill and told him to answer the phone when it calls. Gogashvili answered the phone and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia was on the line. The conversation was about threats, in case Ioseb Gogashvili did not keep silent. In particular, Gogashvili was told to take into consideration factors that might happen to him and his family”.

 

It must be mentioned that legislation of Georgia limits Independent investigative body’s (Special Investigation Service of Georgia) authority to investigate alleged crimes committed by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia. Representatives of non-governmental organizations have been negatively evaluating this restriction for years. The recommendation to correct this gap in legislation is also mentioned in OSCE/ODIHR opinion of 18 February, 2022.

 

On 16th of July, 2022 former deputy head of the State Security Service of Georgia informed the public in a statement on social media that he had evidence of election fraud.  With the same statement he announced a TV speech. Gogashvili was arrested a few hours after publishing this statement.

 

On 21st of July, 2022 „Transparency International Georgia” and “Fair Elections” published a report which was prepared based on the evidence provided to them by Gogashvili. The above-mentioned evidence refers to a number of facts of criminal actions allegedly carried out for the purpose of bribing and mobilizing voters. Part of the above mentioned evidence is verifiable and there is no reason to doubt their authenticity yet. It should be noted that the authors of the above-mentioned report provided the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia with this information.

 

The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia still has not informed the public whether the investigation regarding systematic crimes allegedly committed for the purpose of vote mobilization was initiated or not. Possible involvement of representatives of the ruling party and high ranking public officials, including representatives of law enforcement agencies, in an allegedly criminal scheme adds special importance to the case of Ioseb Gogashvili. On the one hand for protecting rights of the accused and on the other hand for thoroughly investigating possible cases of voter mobilization using criminal methods.

 

Members of the parliament issued number of political statements on Gogashvili’s case. However, the Parliament of Georgia has not yet initiated effective parliamentary supervision on Gogashvili’s case.

 

We call on the Parliament of Georgia to use mechanisms of parliamentary supervision according to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia (including temporary investigative commission, interpellation) and exercise effective parliamentary control;

 

We call on the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to initiate investigation on possible threat against Gogashvili. Also, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia must inform the public what measures are taken in order to investigate allegedly systematic crimes exposed by Gogashvili.

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