DRI: 1135 days of Irakli Bebua’s illegal imprisonment

The Democracy Research Institute considers that the efforts of the Georgian authorities to release Irakli Bebua, who is illegally imprisoned in Abkhazia, are ineffective and insufficient.

On September 30, 2020, Georgian citizen Irakli Bebua was arrested in Gali for burning the flag of Abkhazia. The maximum punishment for the mentioned action is one-year imprisonment, however, Bebua’s charge was artificially aggravated, as if he had a hand grenade, and he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

According to the family of Irakli Bebua, the illegal prisoner has health issues, he does not have access to medical services and his life and health are in danger. In October 2023, a family relative noted: "For the last two months, he has head strong headache, as well as stomach and back pains. Additionally, he is depressed, he does not get up, does not leave the cell. He doesn't have medicines either, they only give him a sedative, but they do not examine him or prescribe treatment."

Irakli Bebua has fully served 3 years and 40 days of the illegal sentence. Conditions in the prison where Bebua is serving his sentence do not meet international standards. Taking into account the health condition of Irakli Bebua, the days spent in the penitentiary institution can be considered a fully served sentence. According to Article 75 of Abkhazia’s de facto criminal code, a person may be released early in case of a serious health condition. Considering that Irakli Bebua has serious health issues, he is eligible for release in accordance with the de facto legislation.

The Democracy Research Institute calls on the Georgian authorities and the international community to use all political and legal mechanisms at their disposal to immediately release Irakli Bebua from illegal imprisonment.

The Democracy Research Institute considers that:

  • The authorities should strengthen the use of diplomatic, political and legal mechanisms and create lines of communication with the de facto regime of Abkhazia in order to facilitate the timely release of Irakli Bebua from illegal imprisonment;
  • The Public Defender of Georgia should use the constitutional mandate to facilitate the release of Irakli Bebua and other persons in illegal imprisonment in the occupied territories.