TBILISI, DFWatch – Human rights campaigners in Georgia are organizing a hungerstrike among prisoners in connection with the election for parliament.
Organizers are the groups ‘Political Prisoners against the Dictate of Five’, ‘For Protection of Human Rights’, the founder of which is Prisoner Melor Vachnadze, and the founder of movement Shemogviertdi.
Levan Chitadze from the movement Ara (“No”) said Friday that some prisoners plan to go on hunger strike to protest against the government’s dictatorial actions. He explains that a hunger strike is planned one week before the elections, and some of the prisoners have already agreed to participate.
Melor Vachnadze was arrested July 24, 2009, first on an administrative charge (a catch-all charge, remnant of the Soviet justice system), and then hooliganism charges. His father-in-law Roman Bzhalava, a member of parliament for the governing party, turned him in for fraudulent appropriation of his car. He was sentenced to four years in jail and is serving time at No 16 prison facility in Rustavi. Recently he was transferred to the Republican Prison Hospital in Gldani, because his medical condition worsened.
Relatives and opposition representatives ask that Vachnadze transferred to Sepsis Center.
Giorgi Tsagareishvili explains that Vachnadze’s family has been told that escort money should be paid, that’s why he was not transferred to Sepsis Center. But his life is in danger.
“There is no opportunity for Vachnadze to have an operation at Gldani Hospital. The only opportunity for this operation is at Sepsis Center and not at the Prison Hopsital. Vachnadze needs several operations. His blood is poisoned, he has injuries on his body, bruises, his blood vessels are thinner and yet it is unknown which stage is his disease is at,” Chitadze says.
Tinatin Nibloshvili also from the Ara movement said today that Melor Vachnadze is a political prisoner and that he has not stopped his political activity while in prison.
Levan Chitadze, Chair of Ara, says that Melor Vachnadze established an NGO in prison. The goal of the organization is ‘not to check number 5’, which is the number of the ruling National Movement party on the ballot-paper.
Chitadze says there are more than 100 persons recognized as political prisoners in Georgia.
He says Melor Vachnadze is recognized as a political prisoner by Human Rights Watch.