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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1621 2007-07-09 13:39 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #1621/01 1901339

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001621 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2017 
     B. TBILISI 1299 
TBILISI 00001621  001.2 OF 002 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: Georgia's Ombudsman told DCM and Poloff in a 
meeting on 5 July that detainee treatment at pre-trial 
detention centers has improved due to monitoring of these 
venues.  He recounted specific cases where independence of 
courts, instances of misuse of power by police, government's 
infringement of property rights of citizens, and inadequate 
prison conditions for inmates still continue.  Subari 
expressed his satisfaction with the U.S. State Department's 
Human Rights Report (HRR) for Georgia which he said helped 
him in his work and his dealings with the Georgian executive 
and legislative branches.  END SUMMARY. 
The Role of the Public Defender Office 
2.  (C) DCM and Poloff met with Sozar Subari, Georgia's 
Public Defender/Ombudsman, on 5 July.  At the outset of the 
meeting Subari described the mandate of the Public Defender. 
His office is permitted to receive information from any 
government agency and provide recommendations to the 
appropriate agency; his recommendations, however, are not 
binding.  The Public Defender's Office is a parliamentary 
agency and is accountable to Parliament. 
Detainee Maltreatment Down, Funding Up 
3. (C)  Subari related to DCM and Poloff that the incidents 
of maltreatment of pre-trial detainees are decreasing 
following the introduction of Ombudsman's monitoring of these 
venues (reftel A).  As a result of "unannounced visits" by 
the Ombudsman's staff, the incidence of physical abuse of 
detainees has significantly decreased, and special record 
books on detainees are reviewed to ensure that detainees are 
being logged into the system and relatives are notified of 
their detention in a timely manner.  Additionally, Subari 
noted that the increase of funding from 300,000 GEL (179, 640 
USD) to 600,000 GEL (359,282 USD) for inmate health care was 
a positive sign, although the increase is still not 
sufficient and serious health problems remain in the prison 
health care system.  He highlighted in particular the spread 
of tuberculosis, inadequate treatment of diagnosed 
inmate-patients, and poor practice of maintaining medical 
records as lingering problems. The subordination of the 
prison health system is unclear as 
 to whether it belongs to the Ministry of Justice or to the 
Ministry of Health and this lack of clarity has no one agency 
in a responsive role. 
Lingering Problems 
4.  (C) Subari stressed that major human rights problems 
still are prevalent in the country due to the lack of 
independence of courts, instances of abuse of power by 
police, government's infringement on property rights, and 
inadequate prison conditions (reftel B). He highlighted 
specific instances of police falsification of evidence in the 
killing of Robakidze by the patrol police in 2004 and recent 
inhumane treatment of inmates in Rustavi prison where inmates 
were kept naked for the purpose of punishment.  Subari 
underlined the inappropriate actions and corruptness of the 
Special Operation Department (MOIA), and their involvement in 
the illegal detention of three young men in Svaneti. His 
professional opinion is that Georgia's judicial system is not 
yet mature enough to ban the presence of video and television 
cameras in the courtroom.  He acknowledged that perhaps in 
America this would be understandable, but in Georgia there is 
still strong distrust of the judicial branch and passage of a 
law prohibiting re 
cording devices from the courtroom would only cement further 
this distrust. 
Lack of Parliamentary Support 
5. (C)  Subari regretfully noted the lack of Parliament's 
support to his agency.  He recalled in particular 
Parliament's reaction to his 2005 annual report which was 
critical of the religious minorities' situation in Georgia. 
In the course of his presentation, the majority of the 
Parliament walked out in protest.  Parliament was also very 
TBILISI 00001621  002.2 OF 002 
late in adopting its resolution on the report.  When the 
resolution was adopted, its stated that the Parliament did 
not share the Ombudsman's position on the religious minority 
issues.  Subari stressed that the same reaction occurred to 
his 2006 report to which he is still awaiting a reply. During 
the last year the Public Defender's Office has submitted 
seven claims to the Constitutional Court of Georgia, but only 
one of those has been satisfied.  He specifically noted a 
particular incident when the Parliament adopted a certain 
provision overruled by the Constitutional Court. The 
provision refers to the purchase of the minimal amo
unt of 
shares in the possession of share-hold 
ers in a joint-stock company by the owners of the majority of 
shares at a "fair price" against the will of their owners. 
The Ombudsman's Office filed a lawsuit with the 
Constitutional Court on behalf of the owners of the minimal 
amount of shares and won the case, but the Parliament 
disregarded this precedent. 
Praise for HRR 
6. (C) Subari expressed his satisfaction with the HRR for 
Georgia which he said helped him in his regular work dealing 
with the Georgian executive and legislative branches.  He 
expressed frustration at the lack of support for his work by 
the executive and legislative branches; he said that the HRR 
echoed many of his same concerns and that it gave additional 
credence to his concerns before the other two branches. 
7. (C) Subari told Poloff that in contrast to other public 
structures where budgets have grown 200 per cent or more, his 
budget has not increased in the last three years, despite the 
increase in workload.  He himself admits that his two 
priorities, the fight against torture and protection of the 
rights of national and ethnic minorities are not 
enthusiastically embraced by the administration and often put 
him in direct opposition to the powers that be.  He noted 
with pride that the prestige of his office has grown and now 
occupies second place only to the Georgian Orthodox Church as 
far as public trust. 


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