Ex-gov’t official detained after Rose Revolution is acquitted by European Court

Ex- government was found to have violated four European Convention Articles in Molashvili's case.
Agenda.ge, 31 Oct 2014 - 14:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

A former government official detained in 2004 after the Rose Revolution for abuse of power and more, has been acquitted by the European Court of Human Rights after the former government was found to have abused the victim’s human rights.

Former chairman of the State Audit Office Sulkhan Molashvili was acquitted by the Strasbourg Court after the ex- government was found to have violated four European Convention Articles.

These were:

  •  Article Three: No one shall be subjected to torture, inhumane treatment or punishment;
  • Article Five: Right to liberty and security);
  • Article Six: Right to a fair trial); and
  • Article Fourteen: Prohibition of discrimination.
The Strasbourg Court made its final decision on the basis of a confession of the current Government. On March 11, 2014, the Georgian Government addressed the Strasbourg authorities and admitted the former government’s violations in Molashvili’s case and requested permission to re-investigate the incident.

The Strasbourg Court ordered the state to pay Molashvili €20,000 (44,241 GEL) compensation within three months and to complete a new investigation within one year.

Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Justice Gocha Lortkipanidze noted the amount of compensation could have been more if the dispute had continued.

"Sulkhan Molashvili was treated inhumanly. He was sentenced to imprisonment groundlessly and unreasonably by an unfair court. He was a victim of discrimination. The former president of Georgia also violated presumption of his innocence,” Lortkipanidze said.

"The previous government had also been forced to launch the conciliation procedure for Molashvili in the Strasbourg Court however, the trial had been delayed because of the failure of negotiations between Molashvili’s lawyers and the previous government officials. [But now] we have finished this procedure, the Strasbourg Court has closed this case and imposed a fine of €20,000 on the Georgian Government for Molashvili’s case,” Lortkipanidze noted.

In 2004 the Georgian court found Molashvili guilty of abuse of power, concealing a crime and misappropriation of public funds after the Rose Revolution on April 23, 2004. He was sentenced to nine years behind bars but was released in 2008 under a motion of the Patriarch.

Molashvili is currently in France. It is believed he will return to Georgia in November and re-appeal to the authorities as part of the new investigation into his case.