Sozar Subari

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Sozar Subari (Georgian: სოზარ სუბარი) (born November 4, 1964) is a Georgian politician, journalist, and human rights activist. He is Georgia's Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance since October 25, 2012. He served as a Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia from 2004 to 2009.

Subari was born as Sozar Subeliani (სოზარ სუბელიანი) in the highland village Chuberi (Svaneti). He studied history at the Tbilisi State University and theology at the Tbilisi Theological Academy. After a service as a deacon from 1989 to 1991, he took part in the armed conflict in Abkhazia in 1993. He was involved with the influential NGO Liberty Institute from 2000 to 2004. He also worked as a journalist, including being a correspondent for Radio Liberty, and an editor of the Tbilisi-based Kavkasioni newspaper.

Subari was elected as ombudsman by the Parliament of Georgia for five years term in 2004. During his tenure, the ombudsman's role in Georgian society increased. Subari emerged as a prominent critic of the Mikheil Saakashvili government.[1] During the anti-government rally of 2007, he claimed to have been repeatedly beaten by the police, and stated, "Georgia is now the same as Lukashenko’s Belarus."[2] Later he claimed that the police breakdown was masterminded at a secret meeting of top military and police officials and that Georgia's Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili had ordered police to beat protesters, "mainly in the kidneys and the stomach".[3] On their part, the government officials have accused Subari of "politicizing" the Public Defender’s Office and turning into an opposition politician.[4]

Subari's term expired on September 16, 2009. He was succeeded by Giorgi Tughushi, a ruling United National Movement party nominee, who was approved by the parliament in July 2009.[5] Subari himself joined the opposition Alliance for Georgia led by Georgia's former UN envoy, Irakli Alasania.[6] In 2012, Subari became a member of the Georgian Dream party, founded by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose coalition won the October 1, 2012 parliamentary election. After this, Subari became Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance in the cabinet of Bidzina Ivanishvili on October 25, 2012, succeeding Giorgi Tughushi, his onetime successor as an ombudsman.[7]

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