The cabinet of the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia published a letter noting the right to enter the penitentiary without a special permit to visit former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili is suspended for members of Parliament.
Georgia Today offers the letter unchanged:
“In a letter dated 27 December 2022, the Minister of Justice informed the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia about the tightening of security measures by the Special Penitentiary Service, including in terms of meetings, in order to protect the safety and legal interests of convict Mikheil Saakashvili and requested that the said circumstance be considered while making a decision on the issuance of permits to members of the Parliament.
The Imprisonment Code of Georgia establishes the forms of entering the penitentiary institution and visiting a prisoner as well as the procedure for issuing a special permit to enter the institution. In addition, the Imprisonment Code provides for several officials (President, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Parliament, Public Defender, etc.) who have the right to enter the penitentiary without a special permit. According to the Imprisonment Code and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia, the Chairman of the Parliament can, in turn, grant any member of the Parliament the right to enter the penitentiary institution at his own discretion.
The Chairman of the Parliament has issued 228 permits for members of the Parliament to visit Mikheil Saakashvili since 3 October 2021. This, in turn, shows that the appeal of the members of the Parliament to be granted this right has long gone beyond the scope of the purpose noted in the appeal – i.e., familiarization with the conditions in which the prisoner is serving his sentence – and is being used for personal or working meetings with the prisoner, which has been repeatedly pointed out by the Chairman of the Parliament.
It should be noted at this point that in addition to the Special Penitentiary Service, the conditions under which the convict is serving his sentence are being monitored, first and foremost, by his lawyers, who have made 533 visits to Mikheil Saakashvili to date. In addition, active monitoring is being carried out by the Public Defender and her representatives, who can visit any prisoner at any time of day. They have already used this right in relation to Mikheil Saakashvili on 57 occasions. Correspondingly, the effective monitoring of the conditions under which Mikheil Saakashvili is serving his sentence has been fully ensured.
Based on the above, by the decision of the Chairman of Parliament, the granting of the right to enter the penitentiary without a special permit to visit convict Mikheil Saakashvili is being suspended for members of the Parliament.
In addition, the permits issued as of today for the week of 2 January 2023 shall remain in force.”