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The dismissal of the head of a Legal Entity of Public Law (LEPL) of the Ministry of Justice has been largely covered by Georgian media. Following the dismissal, apparently reaction of the Ministry on an article published in an online magazine, two managers of the LEPL spread information in the social network, that they were threatened and pressed by the Ministry in response to their critical statuses about dismissal of their director. IDFI has conducted an interview with one of the managers. While the outcome of the process is not clear yet and further investigation is needed for drawing specific conclusions, we believe that the collected information may still give interesting insights. The facts given below are based on the interview with one of the managers of the LEPL.
An online magazine published an article about the delay in signing by the Minister of Justice of the agreements for grant given by the one Legal Entity of Public Law (LEPL) of the Ministry of Justice to NGOs. In November 2013 the director of this LEPL was dismissed for “poor management”. Following this fact, two managers of the LEPL, T.A. and A.S. wrote critical statuses on their own Facebook pages. The next day these managers and five more employees were called to the Minister, who had their Facebook statuses printed out and called them “remnants of the previous government”. The new director told them that the General Inspection will consider the case as “action against the system”. Further, there was a suggestion, that unless they quit, they will not be able to find jobs elsewhere. Both T.A. and A.S. declined to voluntarily resign from their positions in exchange for less harsh report of the General Inspection. Now they expect to be effectively fired from their jobs as a result of reorganization process. In the meanwhile, after their remarks of Facebook, T.A. and A.S. were given no additional tasks. They were invited neither to strategic planning workshop, nor to regular management meetings. These two and one more assistant, who wrote similar Facebook post, did not receive the 13th salary, the annual bonus. They have already visited the Public Defender and a non-governmental organization Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) for legal support, plan to write an open letter for NGOs and appeal to the court. Besides, T.A. said in the interview that self-censorship is very common among public service employees, even public officials, but nobody speaks about it openly.