Nino Mikiashvili, presa.ge
Presa.ge had to request assistance from the European Court of Human Rights in getting public information regarding Giorgi Barateli. Mr. Barateli was convicted for the murder of Georgian academician Guram Sharadze. The newspaper wants to learn which detention setting the convicted serves his term.
We have appealed to all three levels of the Georgian courts to obtain information regarding the location of Giorgi Barateli, but each of the courts has considered this information to be private and confidential. The lawyers of the Legal Center for Media within the Georgian Young Lawyers Association- Tatuli Todua, Tamar Gurchiani and Ana Shalamberidze represented presa.ge at Tbilisi City Court, the Tbilisi Appeal Court as well as the Supreme Court.
Presa.ge has been trying to obtain information regarding Giorgi Barateli for more than one year. On September 10, 2009 we sent two letters to the acting Minister of Penitentiary, Probation and Legal Aid at the time- Dimitry Shashkin. In the first letter- based on Articles 37 and 38 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia -we requested information about the convicted for the murder of Amiran (Buta) Robakidze, Giorgi Gamtsemlidze (Grigol Bashaleishvili and Vakhtang Abuashvili). In the second letter we requested information about Giorgi Barateli.
Subsequently, we filed administrative complaints to Tbilisi City Court and court proceeding started on January 29, 2010. Judge Nana Daraselia partly satisfied our suit – ordered the penitentiary department to release information about the murderers of Robakidze and Gamtsemlidze but refused to give any information about Guram Sharadze’s murderer.
Then we appealed to the Appeals Court. On May 11, 2010 the Chamber of Administrative Cases within the Tbilisi Appeal Court (Chairperson – Leila Mamulashvili, Judges Ketevan Dugladze and Nana Chichilesivhikli) concluded “in the name of Georgia” – not to satisfy the appeal of Nino Mikiashvili.”
On June 29, 2010, we brought a cassation suit to the Supreme Court of Georgia hoping they would satisfy our request – to abolish the decision of the Appeal Court regarding the information about the convicted for the murder of Guram Sharadze passed on May 11, 2010 and to pass a new decision based on new legal grounds.
Our hopes vanished when on October 11, 2010, the Chamber of Administrative Cases within the Supreme Court of Georgia (Chairman Levan Murusidze; Judges Maia Vachadze and Paata Silagadze), did not accept our complaint and refused to change the verdict of the Tbilisi Appeal Court.
The verdict of the Supreme Court was delivered to us on October 24; afterwards we applied to the Young Lawyers Association. Their lawyers, who work for the Strasbourg Court, studied our case for over one month. On December 1, they informed us that they are ready to prepare and submit our suit to the European Court of Human Rights.
Presa.ge is extremely grateful to the lawyers of the Legal Center for Media within the Georgian Young Lawyers Association- Ana Shalamberidze, Tamar Gurchiani and Tatuli Todua.
Presa.ge requested the public information based on Georgian law; the information was within the scope of public interest. We kindly remind those people who believe that the location of Giorgi Barateli should be secret, that every citizen has the right to learn information of state institutions in accordance with the law, as well as official documents if they do not contain a state, professional or commercial secret.
The information regarding the murderer of the academician Guram Sharadze is neither a state, professional nor commercial secret; however, it is a topic of public interest and hiding it from Georgian society casts more doubts about the murder of Guram Sharadze in Melikishvili Avenue on May 20, 2007.