Joint appeal – Non Governmental Organization RCT ‘’Empathy’’ and Lawyer Mikheil Ramishvili
To the Public Defender of Georgia – Mrs. Nino Lomjaria
To the Diplomatic Missions Accredited in Georgia
We address you on the facts of pressure against the NGO RCT ‘’Empathy’’ and human rights defender, Lawyer – Mikheil Ramishvili.
We underline that the RCT ‘’Empathy’’ and human rights defender Mikheil Ramishvili are involved in a number of high-profile cases. With the support of the EU, the RCT ‘’Empathy’’ is currently implementing the research project aimed at examining the legality and legitimacy of the special police operation conducted on June 20-21, 2019 in the vicinity of the building of the Parliament of Georgia, as well as investigation of the use of special police equipment. The research aims to check the compatibility of the intrastate legal framework with the international standards in terms of conducting special police operations and utilizing the special police equipment. The RCT ’’Empathy” and its forensic medical expert are engaged in cases of Giorgi Shakarashvili and Tamar Bachaliashvili, found dead in uncertain circumstances. The human rights defender – Mr. Mikheil Ramishvili represents the family of Tamar Bachaliashvili in court and defends their legal interests.
In 2019 the fact of pressure on the RCT ‘’Empathy’’ has been exerted by the LEPL Medical Activity Regulation Agency, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. On August 20, 2019 the representatives of the Regulation Agency, against the background of the grave procedural violations, conducted an unscheduled visit in RCT “Empathy.” The Regulation Agency planned to impose the financial sanction against the organization, by reason of deficient fulfillment of both forensic medical and forensic psychiatric expertise licenses. The RCT ’’Empathy’’ won the legal dispute against the Regulation Agency in the Tbilisi City Court.
In recent days, the intensity of threatening and pressure against the forensic expert of the NGO “Empathy’’ – Mrs. Galina Karmushina, human rights defender Mr. Mikheil Ramishvili and the president of the RCT ‘’Empathy’’ Mrs. Mariam Jishkariani have reached the alarming point.
The abovementioned pressure includes: illegal surveillance, threatening phone calls and organized attacks in the social network. The office of human rights defender – Mikheil Ramishvili is under illegal surveillance, photo and video control. The acts of attacks against honor and dignity of Mrs. Galina Karmushina are carried out through both direct, face to face communication, and anonymous phone calls. Pro-government experts attack the president of the RCT ‘’Empathy’’ – Mrs. Mariam Jishkariani on a daily basis through the leading TV Channels. All the abovementioned persons have become the targets of the coordinated inauthentic behavior of hundreds of registered users on Facebook aimed at degrading their honor and dignity, undermining their professional reputation.
We would like to kindly ask you to give the mentioned facts due consideration and take appropriate measures to stop the ongoing pressure against the independent Non-Governmental Organization and its employees, also on human rights defender, lawyer – Mikheil Ramishvili.
Thank you in advance for your support.