Shocking Report of Public Defender
19 April, 2012
Shocking Report of Public Defender

 

“In medical treatment prison sectors inmates are taken downstairs to the morgues and beaten there”

The Public Defender of Georgia has released a Report on the situation about the Human Rights and Freedoms in 2011. The report pays special attention to the penitentiary system. Facts quoted in it are shocking and staggering.

 

 

Giorgi Tughushi, Public Defender: the Penitentiary system is in an extremely complicated situation. Some of the detention facilities have already reached the crucial point. It’s about prison No.8 in Gldani

district, medical treatment facility for detainees No.18 and prisoners, prison in Kutaisi No.8, 4th prison in Zugdidi. I repeatedly called relevant governmental structures to take legal action against the heads of those detention facilities. Incarcerated prisoners are often subject of inappropriate treatment. According to them, if a prisoner violates internal rules of the prison, instead of incarceration as stipulated by law, he or she is often taken to the so called box of the prison. This is around 2-3 square meters of empty space. A penalized prisoner is held here bear-footed in mere pants for 3 or even 24 hours, while unlucky ones are beaten too. Administration staff may go further and pour water on the box floor to prevent the prisoner from lying down (!).

Prisoners choose to stay inside their cells rather than to go out on their daily round-walk because any of their motion may cause a conflict with prison officers. If even one prisoner breaks the international rules (e.g., greets another prisoner), his entire cell is victimized. This was confirmed to Public Defender’s monitors by some 600 prisoners in the 2nd prison in Kutaisi. Incarcerated prisoners of this detention facility say that on every instance of noisy shutting of the doors, they are forced to take a standing position with hands on their heads, facing a window. If an inmate fails to climb down from its upper level bed, the entire cell gets it. Namely, they are ordered to stand on their knees with their hands placed on heads for 1-2 hours.

On leaving incarceration cells, prison officers have a habit of kicking incarcerated prisoners in the belly or hips using elbows. Prisoners note that situation got worse from July 2011 on, when the prison director was replaced. Prisoners name the Director Dimitri Jichonaia as a frequently participant of prisoner harassment histories. Irakli Jishkariani, Head of Prison Social Service is seen as very “active” in this regard. In the past years, 4th prison inmates in Zugdidi similarly used to point out his cruel character.

Situation in 8th prison in Gldani is truly grave. It was as early as summer when monitoring at the time found out that prisoners were not allowed to sleep in the daylight period or just to lie on the upper level bed, or take off a t-shirt inside the cell whatever the blistering heat there, listen to the radio, play anything that would generate a slightest noise. Generally, the administration hated “excessive noise” and any trespasser of their rules would be punished.

In Gldani detention facility with the 3500 men capacity silence reigns. It was this silence that attracted attention of the European committee against torture in 2010. Effectively, the committee had not registered even a single case of complaint about inappropriate treatment in this prison. Though, later on several prisoners of other detention facilities disclosed to the Committee delegation that when serving their term in the Gldani prison they would be subjected to beating with buttons, fists and feet (mostly they named “Ango”, “Khonski” and Beka Mzhavanadze). Prisoners often leave 18th medical treatment facility by their own requests. They explain that such acidic handling of prisoners by the prison administration is a result of appeals submitted by prisoners to the European court. These prisoners are termed “traitors” and “manipulators”. In some instances, they may be dragged to morgues and beaten there.

Q: According to the data for the last decade, the official number of prison deaths in Georgia peaked in 2010. Have things changed in 2011?

A: Nothing has changed. In 2010, 142 prisoners died. In the following year, it was 140. The increase is evident for the last two years. Namely, the figure for 2010 is 60% higher than the figure for 2009 and alarmingly repeats itself in 2011. A large part of the late prisoners had severe and incurable illnesses. Nonetheless, early release or postponement of imprisonment was never in question. There is no point in holding prisoners in prison if they are seriously and irreversibly ill and count their last days of existence in this world.

P.S. The facts given in the report of the Public Defender is a drop in the sea if one reads the entire report. The Parliament of any normal country would have been sent into deep thoughts. In contrast, our Parliament has not betrayed its tradition and casually “took note” of this shocking reality.

 

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