Georgian civil activists oppose introduction of tougher punishments for hooliganism and police disobedience
With the new bill submitted to the Georgian parliament, tougher punishment measures may be introduced for those charged with petty hooliganism, as well as for disobeying the legal request of a police officer. The bill will be considered on an expedited basis.
The new bill states that:
• In case of committing petty hooliganism, the minimum fine (in case of repeated offense) will be increased from 500 to 1,500 lari (from approximately $ 144 to $ 435), and the maximum fine limit will also be increased from 1,000 lari to 2,000 lari (from $ 290 to $ 580);
• The punishment for failure to comply with the legal requirement of a police officer in the line of duty will be increased too – the minimum fine will be raised from 1000 to 2000 lari and the maximum fine limit (in case of repeated offense) will be raised from 4000 to 4500 lari ($1157 to $ 1302 dollars).
Civil society activists responded to the initiative by issuing a special statement on being “shocked by the complete silence of the opposition in parliament” on the matter.
“By doing this, the opposition in parliament not only refused to defend the rights of us, civic activists but also did not protest against the further restriction of fundamental human rights – the right to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly”, activists say.
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“In light of the ongoing political and social crisis in the country, while public protests are growing and the economic situation in the country is extremely difficult, these changes will become a heavy burden for the population and can be seen as a step towards limiting civil space”, Transparency International Georgia stated.
The organization calls on the Georgian parliament not to support the initiative and not to allow for the increase in the size of fines amidst the scarce economic conditions that the country is currently faced with.