Seven families—5 of them Azerbaijani—are at the risk of losing their homes at 48 Petriashvili Street, the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
The reason is said to be lack of necessary legal documents for their homes which they and their forefathers have been in possession of for a century, APA’s Georgia bureau reports.
The fate of these families has become one of the widely debated topics on social networks in the country. Last week’s footage showing three families being forced out of their homes went viral among internet users. That day law enforcement representatives were present at the site and there was a dispute with residents. Patrol police and ambulances arrived at the scene.
The homes, which are in poor conditions, occupy an area of 156 sq m. Located in central district of Vera, the area has been bought by a woman without the notification and consent of the families. The woman is said to be a businesswoman who owns a number of trade and other facilities in the vicinity of Petriashvili Street. The 5 Azerbaijani and 2 Georgian families, who have been ancestrally living therein, are in an extremely desperate financial situation. Among them are 3 disabled, elderly sick people and children. A total of 35 people are experiencing the fear of losing their homes.
The Mammadovs are one of the families in question. Parviz Mammadov, a disabled member of the family, says his father has lived in the house for more than 80 years.
“On March 9, the bailiffs vacated our rooms. Along with my wife and father, who is a diabetes patient, we have taken shelter in the kitchen. As it was built later, the kitchen is excluded from the purchase. We have placed our two kids in an acquaintance’s home. We were ready to leave our home if they provide us with housing somewhere else. But they seem to be going to give us neither a place nor compensation. We have nowhere to go, nor is there anyone to hear our complaints,” he said.
The door handle has been removed of the Mammadovs’ house. The household items have been placed in the yard of the neighbors. Gas supply has been cut off as well.
Fatma Mammadova, another member of the family, said that the seven families are being evicted from their homes.
“The families are in desperate conditions. How could they take possession of the homes of these families who are struggling in poverty and disease. We are greatly distressed. On March 25, bailiffs will come again to vacate another house,” she said.
The Maisuradze family, who lives in fear of being evicted from their home, has their living space documents in order. Nevertheless, the area they have been living since 1969 was sold without their awareness. An elderly member of the family died in recent days, unable to bear the fear of homelessness. The head of the family is visually impaired and the fear of being homeless at this age has aggravated his health.
Lawyer Clara Shukva, who defends the rights of the seven families, said the eviction of families from their homes is illegal.
“The trial has been going on since 2010. The party that bought the plot illegally acquired a certain part, and the investigation in connection with this is underway. Forcible eviction of the families without the court's final judgment is inadmissible. We demand that these families be granted a special status," the lawyer added.
The trial will be resumed on April 2.
The National Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia has already informed Georgia’s relevant state agencies about the problems of these families. Congress Chairman Ali Babayev said that these families have been living in this area for many years, paying utility bills and other taxes.
"The plots on which their homes are located have been acquired fraudulently. We demand that investigation be carried out thoroughly and those who are responsible for this be identified,” he added.
Babayev said that the National Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia will appeal to Georgia’s Prime Minister, Ministry of Justice and the Ombudsman's Office in connection with the matter.
The desperate Azerbaijani families are pinning their hopes on the Azerbaijani government. They have been invited to Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tbilisi in connection with the issue. The families were told that their problems will be under the embassy’s control.