Scores of protesters still unaccounted
09 June, 2011

Families of vanished protesters are afraid to report to police

2 weeks passed after the 26 May crackdown but dozens of people still remain lost. Non-governmental organizations request MIA to see into the fate of people on their list and air the info that could help find their whereabouts.

Eka Beselia, Chair of non-governmental organization Solidarity with Unlawfully Imprisoned People, fears that the matter actually amounts to a massive operation intended to cover up criminal actions on the part of the law

enforcers. She says that days may pass before more corpses are “accidentally” uncovered on the roofs or in the Kura River or somewhere else. Beselia maintains that a week ago she already submitted to the MIA a list of 49 lost persons. She acted on behalf of her organization.

MIA published the list of arrested people the next day – on 27 May. However, arrests had been going on well after that day. Hence, there are much more illegally detained people thrown in isolated detention cells than the lists of MIA or Public Defender contain.

Till today, Ministry of Health has not published a list of people who sustained body injuries during the 26 May events. Nor is MIA going to update its list of arrested people or provide information about the lost people. The only thing they said was that MIA is not considering anyone as lost in relation to the 26 May events.

“Several people called me up to inform that some of the lost persons were found by their family members among the arrested people. By the way, their names were absent from the lists published by MIA and Public Defender. Despite this, family members were searching at detention centers without knowing that many arrested protesters were constantly moved from one region to another – to Gori, then to Kutaisi, then to Rustavi and so on. These perpetual transfers were not relayed to families of the arrested people in stark violation of law. The Administrative Code and Code on Prisoners say that in case a person is detained, his or her family or a relative must be informed about the fact. Several other men were hiding during those days and came out only later on. It was due to such calls that the list was continuously updated, Eka Beselia explains.

Now the main point is that the families whose members are still unaccounted for declare about it publicly. However, it turns out that they are afraid to do it. They believe their family members are in prisons and in case they inform police about their absence, the police would apply pressure on them.