The NGO statement on alleged political persecution of Tbilisi City Hall employees - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

The NGO statement on alleged political persecution of Tbilisi City Hall employees

15 October, 2014

Once again, we would like to respond to the claims of the employees of Tbilisi City Hall, who since August 2014 have been exposed to alleged political persecution which was expressed in coercing them to submit resignation letters.

According to  the employees, among the responsible for the persecution were the Head of Department, his Deputy and another unknown person - police officer, as they report.

We were told the following: 

Giorgi Khaburzania reported that the Head of the City Hall Supervision Department, Gega Nizharadze, and his Deputy, David Meduashvili, had forced him to submit a resignation letter because of his political beliefs. He brought an audio recording to the lawyers from the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, whose authenticy could not be verified, however whose contents reinforce the supposition that alleged illegal measures had been taken against him.  

According to Giga Makatsaria, the Head of the City Hall Supervision Department and his Deputy forced him to write a letter of resignation. He was told that in case of not satisfying their orders, his previous employment background would be investigated (Giga Makatsaria had previously worked in the police), destroyed and as a consequence he would be dismissed. Giga Makatsaria added that there was another unknown person present at that time, supposedly a law enforcement officer, who ensured the Head of the Department and his Deputy that he would investigate Mr. Makatsaria’s cases and “destroy him". 

Kakhaber Buskivadze, who has worked in the City Hall Supervision Department since 2008, said that, in the end of August 2014, the Head of the Department explained to him that “this is how  it usually happens, one team leaves and another comes in and everybody in a leadership position would also have to leave”. According to Mr. Buskivadze, the Head of the Department also told him that he would do his best to keep him in the office, albeit on a lower position. He stressed, it did not depend solely on him as he was receiving instructions from the board. Mr. Buskivadze commented that, due to the situation, he was forced to accept the demotion and work as a chief specialist.

Nikoloz Namicheishvili worked as the Chief of Staff in the City Hall Supervision Department. From 18 August to 5 September 2014, he had been demoted twice, and once at his individual request.

Although the given demotions occurred, based on Nikoloz Namicheishvili’s personal experience, it is unlikely that the noted individuals had voluntarily taken such decisions and requested lower positions.

What is essential, this is not the first time that a voice is raised and civil servants from Tbilisi City Hall are still being persecuted. We have made several statements concerning this issue and urged the relevant authorities to react correspondingly. Even if a number of similar cases have been reported, no response from the law enforcement officers has been observed so far. 

We would like to once again highlight the Article 169 of the Criminal Code of Georgia: “Illegal dismissal from work, non-fulfillment of the court decisions on the reinstatement to one’s work or other substantial violation of the labour legislation, - shall be punishable by fine or by imprisonment for up to two years in length or by deprivation of the right to pursue a particular activity for up to three years in length or without it”. We ask all relevant authorities to investigate the above cases and take necessary actions. We also ask Tbilisi Mayor to ensure that the attestation and competition procedures planned in the City Hall are conducted in a fair and transparent manner.   

 

Georgian Young Lawyers' Association

Transparency International Georgia

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy

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