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On 1 October 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the Resolution

on Abuse of Pre-trial Detention in States Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. The resolution also placed emphasis upon violations with regard to pre-trial detention in Georgia. One of the leaders of the Georgian Dream, Giorgi Volski, commented upon the resolution and stated that partisan bias was evident because the rapporteur of the resolution was one of the leaders of the European People’s Party. Mr Volski declared: "This is a victory of one particular team, the European People’s Party, whose member is the United National Movement itself. This is a victory over the other team which opposes the United National Movement."

FactCheck

took interest in Giorgi Volski’s statement and verified its accuracy.

The resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stresses the importance of the presumption of innocence and pre-trial detention. The resolution underscores that pre-trial detention should be used only exceptionally, as a last resort, when alternative measures of restraint are insufficient to safeguard the integrity of the proceedings.

The resolution says that the European Convention on Human Rights has established clear limits for the use of pre-trial detention. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe notes that the laws of most member states are generally in line with the Convention’s standards but their application by the prosecutorial authorities and the courts is frequently not.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also clarifies that the high number of pre-trial detainees in Europe is an indication that the permissible grounds for pre-trial detention; notably, to prevent a suspect from absconding or interfering with witnesses and other evidence, are generally interpreted too widely for other purposes.

The resolution describes the facts of putting pressure upon detainees in order to coerce them into confessing to a crime or otherwise cooperating with the prosecution, including by testifying against a third person. The cases of Sergey Magnitsky, in the Russian Federation, and representatives of the previous Government of Georgia, such as Vano Merabishvili, are given as examples.

Certain cases of the United National Movement leaders in Georgia are given as examples of discrediting or otherwise neutralising political competitors.

The resolution underlines that even though some countries, such as the Russian Federation, Turkey and Georgia, have reformed their court systems, the abuses of pre-trial detention continue to occur.

The resolution also names the cases of Gigi Ugulava and Bacho Akhalaia as examples of the possibility to circumvent statutory time limits imposed upon pre-trial detention.

The resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was adopted

by 89 MPs with ten MPs against. Four MPs decided to abstain from voting. The majority of the votes (35) were from the Party of European Socialists and 34 votes were from the European People’s Party. Of note is that the Georgian Dream holds membership of the Party of European Socialists whilst the Republican Party of Georgia is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) whose 11 members also voted for the resolution.

The resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe caused dissatisfaction among representatives of the Government of Georgia. Manana Kobakhidze accused Pedro Agramunt of being biased and one-sided whilst Zviad Kvachantiradze assumed that Mr Agramunt’s old age was somehow to blame for his "misinterpretation of facts" and "biased stance."

Conclusion

On 1 October 2015 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the Resolution on Abuse of Pre-trial Detention in States Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. The resolution severely criticises Georgia. The members of the ruling political team, including Giorgi Volski, tried to portray the resolution as a document supported only by one certain political entity; namely, the European People’s Party. However, the resolution was adopted by 89 MPs against ten. The majority of the votes (35) in support of the resolution were from the Party of European Socialists whilst 34 votes for the resolution were cast from the European People’s Party. Of note is that the Georgian Dream party is a member of the Party of European Socialists whilst the Republican Party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Volski’s statement is a LIE.

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