"The number of crimes is decreasing," Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili explains. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch — The interior minister says the crime situation in Georgia now is under control, but remains difficult.

Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says criminals have taken advantage of the process of handing over power.

“We weren’t able to timely enter the ministry after the election and the police was completely demoralized in this period,” he said, adding that police didn’t react to crime. That’s why there has been a rise in petty crime.

“We have started the reorganization of the police; replaced heads of regional police. Therefore, the situation is stable now; the number of crimes is decreasing, while statistics of starting crime investigations is increasing. We are now satisfied with the work of police.”

Gharibashvili and other government officials are attending a conference at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel, together with representatives of the UN, the Embassy of Netherlands, and Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights. The topic is Freedom and Right to Security, an Effective Police and Prosecutor’s Office.

The Chief Prosecutor, Justice Minister, Ombudsman, foreign diplomats and representatives of human rights NGOs also attend the meeting.

Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said over 7 000 people have filed complaints by now, from which about a thousand complaints are about torture and mistreatment in prisons.

He says this indicates that the very way the prisons were run was basically criminal in nature.

“We have cases when as an exception in some jails human rights were defended. We group such issues and persons, who are exposed in same actions to start adequate investigations,” he said, adding that the number of investigators is increasing, but there is a problem with human resources.

Both the interior minister and the chief prosecutor commented on the latest detentions of former government officials. Kbilashvili noted that the Prosecutor’s Office is careful and tries to be substantial.

“If a person is convicted without legal basis then he is a political prisoner.”

He explained that the prosecutor’s office has made public all the material regarding detained officials in order to avoid speculations. He remarked that yet he hasn’t heard criticism regarding lack of evidence.

The interior minister said that it is very unfortunate when opponents say there is a political motive behind these detentions.

He said the government is very careful when determining the fate of every person and follows principles of justice.

Other topics of today’s conference are means to fight against violation of freedom and security, respect of freedom and security, police and prosecutor’s office, detentions and amnesty.