A group of judges being considered for Georgia’s Supreme Court has asked parliament to disregard their nominations, citing a campaign of ‘unprecedented pressure’ on the judiciary. Their nominations had been controversial after rights groups, the opposition, the Public Defender, and several members of the ruling party accused them of being compromised and condemned the ‘rushed’ confirmation process.
A Georgian politician who used a homophobic slur against a queer rights activist on TV has been issued a symbolic fine of ₾1 ($0.37) by Tbilisi City Court. While the ruling set a precedent as the first time a fine has been issued on these grounds, the plaintiff, Levan Berianidze, said the ruling could give the green light for others to express homophobic hate.
A court in Makhachkala, the capital of the Russian Republic of Daghestan has sentenced the city’s former mayor to four years in prison on corruption charges.
On 12 September, a court in the Russian Republic of Chechnya convicted 14 men of ‘participation in an illegal armed formation’ and ‘illegal purchase and possession of weapons’. The trial was held in secret, with relatives claiming they were promised the men would receive lighter sentences if they did not contact rights groups or the media.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has come under fire from civil society groups as well as ruling party and opposition MPs for refusing to nominate a candidate to head the Supreme Court. Some critics warned the move could allow a ‘dominant group of judges’ on Georgia’s High Council of Justice to strengthen their grip over the judiciary. [Read more…]
A Jehovah’s Witness from the Kabardino-Balkarian town of Maysky is on trial in Prokhladny District Court for ‘inciting religious hatred’ and ‘calling to extremist activity’. Yury Zalipayev faces up to five years in prison if convicted. [Read more…]
The former President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, was released on bail on Monday after an appeal court ruled his detention was unlawful. Kocharyan was forced to cancel a press conference on Tuesday after protesters chanting ‘murderer’ stormed the venue. [Read more…]
Moscow’s Presnensky District Court extended the pre-trial detention of a former high-ranking officer in Daghestan’s Interior Ministry until November. Magomed Khizriyev is accused of giving a bribe of $2 million to officials in Moscow in an attempt to secure his appointment as Daghestan’s Interior Minister. [Read more…]
The chairperson of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Nino Gvenetadze, has resigned for ‘health reasons’, sparking controversy about whether she was pressured to leave the post. Some officials, including Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani, said her resignation came as a surprise. President Margvelashvili meanwhile pointed to ‘harsh conditions’ in the court system, with Gvenetadze having called herself a ‘victim of violence’ on the Georgian High Council of Justice (HCOJ). [Read more…]
On Friday, former employees of Ingushetia’s Centre for Countering Extremism were sentenced by a court in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Neither the prosecution nor the defence was satisfied with the verdict, although many activists maintained that sentencing was ‘a huge achievement for human right defenders in the North Caucasus’.