The Trial of Pailodze, October 1978 (51.2)

<<No 51 : 1 December 1978>>

On 6 October Tbilisi City Court, presided over by Gulisashvili, completed its examination of the case of Valentina Pailodze and Nunu Dzhabnidze, charged under Article 206-1 of the Georgian Criminal Code (= Article 190-1 of the Russian Code), Article 233, pt. 2 (“violation of the person and rights of citizens under the guise of performing religious rites”; pt. 2 stipulates lesser sanctions than pt. l)and Article 153 (“fraudulence”).

Pailodze (b. 1929) was arrested on 6 November 1977 (CCE 47.4).

At the trial Dzhabnidze, who had previously been sentenced for fraudulence, was the main prosecution witness against Pailodze. Furthermore, with the silent approbation of the court, she insulted Pailodze and the witnesses who spoke in her favour in every way possible. The trial was an unusually noisy one, with cries from the Procurator and both defendants and laughter from the ‘special’ public in the courtroom and the judge. When witnesses testified in support of Pailodze the judge pretended to be asleep.

The charge of fraudulence against Pailodze was fabricated by the investigators in such a crude manner that the court was obliged to reject it.

Under Article 206-1 Pailodze was charged with preparing pamphlets of anti-Soviet content, the very same pamphlets which were brought to her at her flat after she was arrested (CCE 47.4). Pailodze denied any connection with these pamphlets.

Under Article 233 Pailodze was charged with disseminating religious literature. Pailodze did not deny this charge but asserted that this had not involved any “violation of citizens’ rights”.

The court sentenced Pailodze to 1 year of imprisonment and 2 years’ exile (in 1974, under the same two articles, she received 1 ½ years in camps — see CCE 32.11).

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Entry to the courtroom was not obstructed.

During one of the breaks an escort summoned the Muscovite A. Romanova, who was attending the trial, over to Pailodze. (“Who is there from Moscow here?” the escort had asked.) Pailodze asked her to tell A.D. Sakharov: “Trials in Georgia are unjust; people are tried for their faith.”