The City Court in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) claims that former government officials are being subject to pressure while in prison.

Representative of GYLA visited seven former employees of the Ministry of Agriculture just after they were arrested and concluded that they are experiencing pressure.

Former employees of Ministry are accused in wasting governments money, abusing of the power, and pressure on the experts.

On December 24, 2012 government appointed GEL 54mln to help people, living in the villages. 50 mln out of this 54 was intended to buy tractors and other technique. Several employees of Ministry of Agriculture, who were involved in this process, wasted GEL 2.5 mln. After that, they tried to pressure the experts, who observed the processes. These employees were arrested and David Kirvalidze, Ministrer of Agriculture resigned on May 2, 2013.

GYLA thinks that several issues revealed after detailed interview with these prisoners should be of interest to investigative bodies and society.

“Four prisoners out of seven claims, that they were under psychological pressure by prosecutor Shota Rizhamadze and investigators who abused them verbally during interrogation in the Moduli Building,” GYLA writes in the statement.

GYLA claims that prisoners say the interrogation, which proceeded without their lawyer present, sometimes continued about one hour or one and a half hour, but they had to stay at the Moduli Building for 8 hours.

GYLA believes the presence of a lawyer during interrogation is required, especially in this case, when prisoners are questioned as witnesses and are under pressure to give testimony against themselves.

The lawyers group speaks about a trial where the defendants told about being put under such pressure, but the court did not satisfy the former official’s requirement about excluding Shota Rizhamadze from their case.

GYLA does not have any information about whether the prisoner’s statement about pressure led to anything.

The Interior Ministry has not made any comment about this case yet.

GYLA continues monitoring.