News

Georgian minister stands by police story on controversial death

by | Mar 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Interior Minister says his ministry’s preliminary findings show that the death of a prisoner at a regional police station was an accident, but that it is outrageous that something like this could happen.

Following the death of Solomon Kimeridze at Khashuri police station February 27, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili has decided to have more transparency around persons or guests visiting the police.

“We will issue an appropriate decree regarding the new rules and the main part of this decree will be that the head of the unit, who manages the department, will personally be in charge of the new rules,” Merabishvili says. “He will be responsible also for avoiding accidents and implementing monitoring of the enforcement of this decree. We will install surveillance cameras everywhere, and our general inspection will be instructed to control them.”

On February 29 the Georgian Interior Ministry released the statement about the death of Solomon Kimeridze, who accidently died into the Khashuri police building, where he had been called for interrogation.

The official findings say that the cause of death was injuries sustained from falling down the stairs. However, rights groups and the opposition consider the case suspicious and demand an objective investigation. A Georgian news website released photos of Kimeridze’s corpse with injuries which may be the result of torture.

Yesterday students and groups held another protest in front of the police building in Khashuri, demanding to properly investigate the case.

Recently the Georgian Young Lawyers Association requested to publish all the material regarding the case because of the public interest, including the material of the surveillance cameras taken that night.

DF Watch contacted the interior ministry’s spokesperson Shota Utiashvili asking about the material, but he says it’s impossible to publish material which doesn’t exist, as none of the cameras installed at the place were directed towards the place where the accident happened.

Opposition parties and groups are calling for an independent investigation, but this is ruled out. Utiashvili says it’s up to Kimeridze’s family. But the family hasn’t signaled whether it wants an investigation.

“The family and the relatives should express a desire to conduct an independent investigation and not the independent politicians,” he says.

Journalists are having problems contacting the family of the victim. They say around fifteen people are standing in front of the house not letting any journalist enter.

The Young Lawyers Association also says that the family doesn’t wish to cooperate with them.

As for the body injuries, Utiashvili says that the investigation is still in progress and the results will soon be known.

“But the fact itself that a man with such weight fell of the stairs, means that these are injuries resulting from a fall and cannot be considered as torture.”

“Kimeridze is one more victim of Saakashvili’s ideology of violence,” Georgia’s newcomer politician billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili said today.

One fact proving this, he says, is that the head of that police should as a minimum have been suspended until the investigation has ended. But the government didn’t, which once more proves the reason for this event, he says.



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