Political Involvement in Pardon Commission Scandalous

Former Head of the President’s Pardon Commission, Aleko Elisashvili, was questioned Monday at the Prosecutor General’s office for claiming pressure was exerted on him by authorities to give a favorable decision in the cases of specific prisoners, disregarding standard criteria.

Elisashvili stated, in light of an investigation failure, he was planning to publish the names of the politicians involved in the illegal process, however on Monday after his questioning, declared that he is satisfied with the progress of the investigation.

He said he has presented phone messages received from high officials to the President. Yesterday the President confirmed that fact.

According to Elisashvili, President Margvelashvili offered him a personal body guard.

Prior to being questioned for the second time, Elisashvili told reporters he had brought a phone with him to show “historical messages” proving his recent statements.

The scandal followed an article by Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra, based on an anonymous source, speaking out about one of the cases of alleged pressure on the Pardon Commission and Elisashvili. This came from Parliament’s Vice Speaker Manana Kobakhidze.

Kobakhidze and a head of parliament’s Human Rights committee, Eka Beselia, were also questioned at the Prosecutor General’s office on Monday.

Beselia called the scandal a “political adventure” as the election campaign is approaching. “My patience, experience, endurance and professional skills will be adequate to end this case,” Beselia declared.

Kobakhidze told journalists that she, as an MP, has an obligation to react to every application from prisoners concerning the protection of their rights. She believes this is “a disreputable campaign” against her, and she plans to fight until all questions have been answered.

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