Key MEPs Back Public Defender
MEP Marina Kaljurand, the chair of the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, and MEP Sven Mikser, the European Standing Rapporteur on Georgia, have issued today a joint statement, backing Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, who recently became under attack by the Georgian Dream leadership over her remarks about safeguarding the rights of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.
“We strongly support the work of the Public Defender’s Office, which plays a crucial in Georgian society. Ms. Nino Lomjaria and her Office deserve prase for their work and attacks on their independence are of always of concern wherever they come from,” the two leading MEPs on EU-Georgia relations highlighted.
The lawmakers said since assuming the role of the Public Defender in 2017, “Ms. Lomjaria has led by example, sparing no effort to protect human rights, promote good governance, and strengthen the rule of law in Georgia.”
“These are at the core of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia, and yet much remains to be done in these areas — particularly when it comes to the independence of the judiciary,” underlined the statement. “Against this background, it is all the more important to have a Public Defender who exercises her duties in a transparent and independent manner.”
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The two lawmakers also underscored that the fact of EU budget and grants, as well as European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) projects are supporting the Georgian Public Defender’s Office “testifies to its importance.”
According to the MEPs, “by performing their duties with the utmost dedication, Ms. Lomjaria and her colleagues have contributed to maintaining Georgia on its European path.” “They enjoy the trust and public support” of the EU Ambassador to Georgia, Carl Hartzel, they added. “Without a doubt, they should be commended, and not criticized, for their commitment to Georgia’s democratic future.”
MEP Kaljurand and MEP Mikser also said they took note of Georgian Public Defender’s statements on the need to respect the dignity, safety and right to a fair trial of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, on the necessity to safeguard his health, and on the circumstances surrounding his transfer to the Gldani prison hospital. “In terms of the health situation of Mr. Saakashvili, we are following these developments and expect his rights to be protected.”
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