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Juvenile dies in prison

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 9
Gogi Dzvelaia, 16, died in Kutaisi #2 prison on October 7. Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance called the death a suicide. However, family members of the diseased believe otherwise.

Tengiz Dzvelaia, father of the deceased boy, stresses that his son "had no reason to kill himself, because he would soon be released on bail.”

He claims that his son was killed, stating that Dzvelaia had a bad relationship with one of the “prison watchers” in the prison, which was known to the family, as well.

“He was threatening my son. When he was taken to the prison, my son called me and asked me to pay the bail as soon as possible. Does a man call you to pay a bail to release him if he intends to kill himself?” Tengiz Dzvelaia said.

Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Sozar Subari, states that it was difficult to understand what happened. However, Subari states that the fact looked like a suicide.

“He knew that he would be released in a few days on bail According to his request, he was alone in his cell, because he had problems with a certain category of prisoners,” Subari said, adding that Dzvelaia was visited several times during the day. According to the head of Social Services, he was gone for a half an hour from his cell, and when he returned, the boy was found dead.

Subari stated that his belief that it was a suicide is based on the fact that only 24 hours had passed after the boy's arrival to the prison and he was immediately placed in an individual cell.

The minister also reports that it was the second detention for Dzvelaia.

Parliament’s Human Rights Committee is interested in the case. According to the head of the Committee, Eka Beselia, the case should be investigated quickly and transparently.

“It should be revealed why the boy committed suicide, when he was scheduled to leave the prison in a few days... such facts do not occur by chance,” Beselia said.

Several months after taking office, the Georgian Dream, and former government members launched talks concerning the undesirable situation in Georgia's prisons. UNM MP, Akaki Minashvili, stated that criminal figures and watchers took control and power in various prisons.

The UNM members released the list of watchers who were controlling the prisons and carrying out illegal actions towards the other inmates.

Responding to the allegations, Minister Subari stressed that the UNM government empowered these watchers in the prisons and used them for their own aims. Subari stressed that the GD “inherited” nearly 700 such inmate watchers after the parliamentary election.

Subari stated that a majority of watchers were released through the large-scale amnesty. However, those who were released, according to Subari, do not even leave their living places as they are afraid of those inmates they were abusing during their being in the prisons.