News, Prisoner abuse

Georgia starts investigating prisoner abuse

by | Dec 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prosecutors in Georgia are preparing to press charges in several cases of prison abuse, based on a series of leaked videos which spurred a major scandal in September.

Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said at a press conference on Tuesday that his staff is going through the evidence now.

“An intensive investigation is in progress. Many conditions have been studied. We plan to open a case into the prisons within the next ten days and inform society what has happened, how it happened, where and under what conditions,” he said.

Two weeks before the October 1, 2012 parliamentary election, Georgian TV channels broadcast six video clips showing prisoners being verbally, physically and sexually abused.

Kbilashvili said a careful study of all the leaked videos has revealed that a number of officials may be responsible for the crimes seen in them.

It took just days for the scandal to result in the resignation of the Prison Minister, Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, and the Interior Minister, Bacho Akhalaia.

The latter has until now been believed to have been personally involved in prison torture. After the National Movement party’s election defeat October 1, Akhalaia left Georgia. Upon his return a month later, Akhalaia was soon detained, but charged with other crimes – abuse of powers, illegal deprivation of freedom and torture of a person not linked to the prison abuse scandal.

It is also believed that Bacho Akhalaia was to blame for the riot in a Tbilisi prison in 2006 which led to 7 deaths.

Kbilashvili Tuesday drew attention to the riot saying that his office is preparing to reopen the case with an entirely new approach. He added that certain officials may be held responsible and promised that the public will learn everything about this case soon.



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