News

Suspicious death in police custody called ‘accident’

by | Mar 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Public Defender calls for an objectively investigation into the death of Solomon Kimeridze.

“The cause of death should be found; also whether he was a victim of inhumane and severe treatment,” says a recent statement by the Public Defender’s office.

Solomon Kimeridze wasFebruary 27 called in to the police station for interrogation, but suffered a sudden death due to what is officially called an accident.

The Public Defender considers it necessary to clarify the circumstances surrounding Kimeridze’s death and calls for law enforcement to conduct a thorough and objective investigation.

On February 28 the Georgian Interior Ministry released a statement which says:

“Solomon Kimeridze was interrogated as defendant by Khashuri Regional police officers. In the process of interrogation, Solomon Kimeridze collapsed from the third floor of Khashuri Police administrative building and fell in the entrance hall of the building while going downstairs to the direction of the second floor.”

Kimeridze was being investigated in connection with the robbery of an apartment.

The ministry says he received a number of injuries and was transferred to hospital, where he died the next day.

The majority of the Georgian opposition and members of his family consider this version of death suspicious. They say the body had a number of injuries and say that this person was ‘killed by police torture’.

The Public Defender, or Ombudsman as he is also called, released a statement on March 1 which says that his representatives have had conversations with Khashuri Police. Their explanations make it clear that none of the police employees, not even Malkhaz Tsikelashvili who was leading Kimeridze when he fell, “saw the fall, but they assume that due to the height and weight, possibly Kimeridze lost balance and fell from the railing.”

The statement also says that the head of Khashuri Plice says they called Kimeridze in to the police station because there was information that he had stolen family belongings from the locals living in the village Kvishkheti. At that stage, Kimeridze wasn’t charged or arrested, so he wasn’t registered in the list of arrested persons in Khashuri regional police.

The Public Defender claims Kimeridze got fatal injuries while in under control by the police.

A person can be victim of inhumane and severe treatment, which obliges the government to conduct a full, comprehensive and objective investigation and present convincing explanation to what caused the above mentioned injuries, the Ombudsman says.

The Public Defender calls for all persons involved in this investigation to pay attention to the fact that ‘Kimeridze was presented to Khashuri regional police without any procedural status by the police.’

“He wasn’t accused, wasn’t detained, according to the documents, but our information makes it clear that at the same time he had limited freedom.”



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