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Why did inmates go on a hunger strike in western Georgia?

By Natalie Osipovi
Monday, February 10
Some inmates of Geguti prison in western Georgia have started a hunger strike, protesting the abusive prison conditions.

Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili met prisoners on February 7, where 800 prisoners are on hunger strike. Prisoners are demanding that the Prosecutor’s Office investigate the cases of prison administration using pressure against prisoners.

According to Nanuashvili, the inmates ask the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate three cases of pressure from the prison administration. They also demanded to lift restrictions on sending parcels into the prison.

They are also asking for access to normal medical treatment and the time spent out of their cells has to be increased.

Nanuashvili thinks that the claims of the inmates should be relevantly addressed. The public defender plans to address law enforcement bodies to take measures and study each of the prisoners’ statements.

The Ministry of Corrections of Georgia stated that the ministry has had information that the hunger strike had been planned in the prison some time earlier. Calling it an attempt of “provocation”, the ministry said this is connected with the recent reforms in the system.

According to the Minister of Corrections of Georgia, Sozar Subari, the hunger strike was initiated by criminal bosses serving their terms in the mentioned prison. “I have been informed about the preparations for the hunger strike,” Subari told journalists. “The recent reforms have affected the special privileges often accorded criminal bosses in penitentiaries and the inmates are trying to reserve the reforms by organizing such protests,” he added.