President Zurabishvili Declares Moratorium on Pardoning
President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili declared a moratorium on the pardoning of convicts at a news briefing at Presidential Administration today.
The President explained her decision by the public concerns following her recent pardon act.
“Under these circumstances, I declare a moratorium on the use of the power of pardoning until the rules for pardoning are changed and newly determined. We have been drafting new rules since January and my version will be handed over to the Speaker of Parliament. Next week, the working group will hold a meeting, where all parties will come together and formulate ideal rules so that the public will no longer need to be concerned,” she said, adding that she had heard many speculations about the interference of certain people in the pardoning procedure, including the President’s Parliamentary Secretary, which was “incorrect.”
Zurabishvili pardoned Aslan Bezhanidze, a person convicted for the 2004 murder of Davit Otkhmezuri. He was detained in 2016. The Supreme Court found him guilty and imposed imprisonment with a term of 6 years and 9 months.
He was released from the penitentiary facility on August 28, Virgin Mary Day. The President pardoned 34 prisoners in connection with Virgin Mary Day including a convict charged for the 2014 murder of police officer Tarash Mukbanian. The above caused outrage in society and among the opposition parties.
Giga Bokeria, a member of European Georgia Party said that opposition does not rule out a limitation of the President’s functions.
By Ana Dumbadze
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