News, Prisoner abuse

Prison protest was sabotage, hints Ivanishvili

by | Nov 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says there are signs of sabotage at No 16 prison in Rustavi. The prison minister says a criminal investigation may be launched against the director if there is proven that violence.

People with loved ones inside the prison in Rustavi have been holding a vigil outside during the last days. Several prisoners went on a hunger strike demanding to meet with the minister, while the majority of prisoners demand to fire the new director, who was appointed shortly after parliament approved the new government. They say the new director threatens them with torture and mistreatment.

For three days relatives of prisoners have not left the place. Some of them claim prisoners with AIDS and tuberculosis are not being given medicine. They join prisoners demanding to fire new the director who allegedly threatened a prisoner that he would be worse than Bacho Akhalaia, the former defense and interior minister.

Many believe that Akhalaia set in place the systematic torture which was revealed in mid September. Abkhalaia resigned after the protests spurred by the airing of videos showing physical, sexual and verbal abuse of prisoners.

Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s Prime Minister said on Friday he sees signs of sabotage in the current events at No 16 facility. He said at a press conference that he spoke with Prison Minister Sozar Subari about this, and he told him that the ministry is studying the situation.

“He knows well what is happening there,” he said. “There are signs of sabotage. There is suspicions that it is organized by certain people.”

Sozar Subari on Friday visited Rustavi. He met with parents as well saying that the situation is now stable and there is no tension right now.

The minister said they will study the complaints from prisoners regarding Levan Aburjania, director of No 16 prison, whom prisoners claim threatens them. If the claims are substantiate, the case will be transferred to the general inspection and criminal investigation will be launched.

“It is hard to seek staff for the prison department and if 5 thousand employees of the prison system are fired than 20 000 prisoners will appear in the street,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the general inspection has set up a four-person team, which will study the situation in Rustavi’s 16th prison if there is harassment over prisoners. If such violations are observed employees will be fired and punished.

The four-person group from inspection will study situation in this prison on Friday.

 



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