TBILISI, DFWatch – Davit Akobia, former employee at Gldani prison — also known as Prison No 8 — was this morning arrested on the border with Armenia. He has been mentioned as one of the persons behind video footage showing torture of prisoner.
The Prosecutor’s Office today released recording of the interrogation of Davit Akobia, in which he names persons who ordered him to secretly record and then distribute the recordings.
He says Boris Parulava, who was security inspector at the same prison, asked him to meet, where he told Akobia he had footage of mistreatment of prisoners, but said that he needed one more clip, as he was planning to go abroad. He explained that if someone learned about the videos they might be caught, so he had to leave. Parulava promised him a large amount of money for this instruction, and fulfilled his promise.
He made a video and was told to send it to Lado Bedukadze, also former employee of the prison, who was the first to release torture videos to Georgian media.
However, Vladimer Bedukadze, who is currently in Brussels and who provided journalists with footage, tells a different story. In a Skype interview with a Georgian media outlet he spoke about details during his service at Gldani prison.
He blames Bacho Akhalaia, the current interior minister, formerly defense minister, to be the one who ordered to torture prisoner and film it.
He says was personally ordered by the director of the prison to make the video. He says he openly made recordings and managed to switch two video cassettes which he had brought with him. The material is an hour and a half in fact, but only part of it has so far been seen by the public.
It emerges that the video footage was brought out of Georgia in May, but publication was postponed until now because Bedukadze and his family feared for their safety. He eventually managed to go to Brussels, but his family is still in Georgia and he says they are being threatened.
But the reason he decided to publish the videos is that the first footage which the interior ministry published on Tuesday is fake and that people need to see the real footage.
In an interview he retold some details of prison life. The first footage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB1-5qprsmQ&feature=g-hist which was first show on TV was an ordinary ‘red Friday’ for prisoners at Prison No 8 in Gldani. This particular footage was shot by Davit Akobia. But the footage he managed to take out from the prison is of bad quality, while there are more violent recordings, which still remains inaccessible.
Lawyers for Davit Akobia yesterday told media that their client was beaten and they suspect that his testimony may be the result of torture.
Salome Abuladze, says he was probably severely beaten, while the other lawyer Mamuka Nozadze says that Akobia made these recordings on orders of Bacho Akhalaia, as he wouldn’t have been able to make this recording on his own.
In his interview, Bedukadze also mentions that it is unable to do anything without orders from the prison director or other officials, even to bring a phone inside. Everything is strictly controlled.
Akobia’s lawyer says they searched for him for half a day and finally found out that he was at the prosecutor’s office and “probably gave testimony suitable to them. That’s why he is now on the list of the witness protection program.”
Tbilisi City Court on Thursday sentenced ten detainees to preliminary detention regarding recent cases. Four of them are convicted by article of torture, the rest for humiliating prisoners.
Lawyers of the detainees didn’t wish to speak with journalists.
The Prosecutor’s Office yesterday reported about arresting ten suspects regarding torture of prisoners in jail.
Those are Davit Khuchua, head of Prison 8, Viktor Khacheishvili, Deputy Director, Levan Purtskhvanidze, Director of Prison 8 security service, Giorgi Kvaratskhelia, inspector at the same prison and several other employees, including Vladimer Bedukadze, who is currently in Brussels and who was the one sending scandal footage from Prison 8.
Court scheduled a review of the case of detainees for November 8.