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Prisoners inflict self-injuries

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, November 15
The Ministry of Corrections of Georgia stresses that the inmates who inflicted self-injures in Tbilisi and Batumi prisons several days ago belong to a group of criminal bosses.

“They tried to expand their sphere of influence and attract public attention with such a method,” the ministry statement reads.

The ministry reports that some criminal elements tried to use the opportunity and got involved with 39 prisoners.

“They wanted to create some kind of illusion, as if their rights are blatantly violated. Our social service team has already spoken with the prisoners and 23 out of 39 have given up their hunger strike,” the ministry states.

The General Inspection of the Ministry of Corrections has already started the investigation over the case. The Public Defender’s Office and the Chief Prosecutor’s Office also expressed their interest in the case.

Meanwhile, family members of the prisoners and their barristers are providing a different story. According to lawyer Marina Kakauridze her client has 80 stitches.

Kakauridze stated that the physical and psychological violence against her client started on November 3.

“My client was in a solitary cell. He had to inflict injures to himself to get others to pay attention. At the moment he is in the hospital,” stated Kakauridze. According to the official information, the prisoner’s condition is stable.

According to the barrister, the injured prisoner told her that the head of the prison was attending the process. “Now they want to put my client in a psychiatric clinic,” stated Kakauridze.

Representative of Ombudsman’s Office Mikheil Mindadze said that the injured prisoner was transferred to Tbilisi from Batumi and the Public Defender’s representatives are working with him.

The Public Defender’s Office informed that on November 22 inmates at the penitentiary establishment No. 3 declared a hunger strike.

“16 prisoners continue their hunger strike,” the Ombudsman says, explaining that according to the inmates the protest was related to the prison’s poor conditions. The same was stated by the inmates’ family members.

The Public Defender admits that the prison really faces serious problems. “As a result of monitoring conducted by the National Preventive Mechanism it was revealed that there are problems with the ventilation and the water supply, none of the rehabilitations programs are in place and no cultural or sport activities were organized at the facility. Prisoners that have been transferred from Eastern Georgia experience problems maintaining contact with their families and lawyers. There are conditions in solitary cells that do not conform to human dignity. The monitoring also revealed that the establishment has problems with provision of medical service,” the Ombudsman says.

Chairperson of the Human Rights Protection Committee of Parliament Eka Beselia, said that the investigation must uncover the reasons, “I am sure that the investigation will be objective, I cannot say anything yet,” stated Beselia.