TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has presented new charges against former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia and Megis Kardava, a former chairman of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti police department in a case that deals with torture of prisoners.
This will be the third charge which the Prosecutor’s Office has presented against Kardava in the last few weeks. Kardava and Akhalaia are charged with torturing prisoners in order to force them to admit that they were planning to escape from prison No 1 in Rustavi.
One of the prisoners, Gia Gorgadze, informed the director of the prison that he was offered by another prisoner to escape the jail, but he decided to cooperate with the prison administration. Gorgodze said his brother and his friends Roman Surmanidze and Marad Artmelidze would help to eliminate the escape plan. His brother Shota Gorgodze and his friends then came to Tbilisi from Tsalka.
Investigators claims that January 12, 2006, the Constitutional Security Department (Kudi) planned a special operation in Tbilisi to assassinate Shota Gorgadze and his friends Surmanidze and Artmeladze in Tbilisi under suspicion that they were planning to attack the prison in order to help prisoners escape. This operation was carried out.
Then Gia Gorgadze was told that his brother was killed and now it was his turn. When Akhalaia and Kardava came back to the prison from the operation in Tbilisi, Gorgadze and five other prisoners were brought into the prison yard, where both Akhalaia and Kardava together with special unit employees beat them with rifle butts and batons and demanded that they admit to be planning escape.
After being beaten, the prisoners were stripped naked and brought into a van. They were taken out of the prison and forced out of the vehicle. They were then left in the snow and mud naked and beaten again by special unit employees.
Later, Akhalaia gave an illegal order to move all the victims of the beating into strict confinement strict at Prison No 7, a different prison also located in Rustavi. When brought there, Kardava and Akhalaia again beat all six prisoners and later sent them to their cells.
The Prosecutor’s Office says the investigation continues to find out what happened during the special operation carried out by Kudi in Tbilisi on January 12, 2006.
Kardava is abroad and wanted internationally, while Akhalaia has been in detention for more than a year facing several different charges.