To the Government of Georgia
To the UN High Commissionaire for Human Rights
To the Council of Europe Commissionaire for Human Rights
To the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe
To EU Special Representative for Human Rights
To EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia
To the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
To the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) To the All Diplomatic Missions accredited in Georgia
The de facto law enforcement authorities of occupied Abkhazia accuse Bebua under several articles of the criminal code of de facto republic, including the insult to state symbols, punishable up to 1 year in prison, intentional damage or destruction to property in aggravating circumstances, punishable by 4 to 7 years in prison, and illegal possession of a weapon, punishable by 2 to 5 years imprisonment.
Irakli Bebua was sentenced with 30 days of imprisonment as a restrictive measure and he remains in Sokhumi custodial until now. The family has a restricted communication with Irakli Bebua and does not have a reliable information on his treatment and state of health. The Treasury Attorney was probably appointed and the issue of his effective legal protection could also become problematic.
Irakli Bebua and his family are IDPs since the war of 1993. In 2016, Irakli returned to Gali to take care on his grandmother, but he could not come back to Tbilisi as he had not needed documents for so called border crossing. It is noteworthy, that his health condition is weak, he has chronic diseases and as he was locked down in Gali for 4 years, he could not take necessary treatment, which worsened his health conditions.
Illegal detention of Irakli Bebua is particularly alarming due to the political contexts and sensitivity of his case. The harsh comments were made in social networks, some of them request his severe punishment.
Illegal detentions and inhuman and cruel treatment during detention are characteristic of occupied regimes. In such conditions we remember number of dramatic cases, including the obscure death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia in the de facto penitentiary institution, the violations of right to life in tragic cases of Giga Otkhozoria, Archil Tatunashvili, David Basharuli and others.
The situation in Abkhazian prisons and the inadequate conditions of prisoners, who are deprived of basic rights and adequate living conditions in penitentiary institutions, are problematic. The hard and scarce prison conditions contains the high risks of spreading severe diseases and cannot create minimum guarantees for the protection and respect of privacy.
The restriction of legal mechanisms in the context of occupation creates the feeling of impunity and inactivity. Therefore, engagement of international actors with their political instruments has particular importance.
Taking into account the context of Irakli Bebua case and its related risks, we address and call for:
The government of Georgia:
The International Organizations and Diplomatic Missions:
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
Human Rights Center
Democracy Research Institute (DRI) Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) Platform SALAM
Center for Peace and Civic development