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NGOs demand alternative monitoring in prisons

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, November 27
NGOs are demanding their involvement in the prison monitoring system owing to the torture cases revealed by the Public Defender’s Office and media recently. NGOs also call on the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the cases of possible violations in prisons and study the activities of investigators as well.

After the statement of the Public Defender‘s Office that one of the prisoners was found tortured on November 12 in Gldani prison, the Prosecutor’s Office stressed that they launched the investigation process in two directions: for using banned items in penitentiary facility and for exceeding official power. There were cases of inflicting self-injures and hunger strikes in prisons as well.

Minister of Justice of Georgia Thea Tsulukiani also wants to know what happened in Gldani Prison.

“The system where people were abused is destroyed. If such facts happened anyway, the cases must be investigated quickly and responded adequately,” she said.

Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) Kakha Kozhoridze states that unlike Tsulukiani he detected a systemic problem in the cases.

“For me this case reveals a problem in the system. Not only the fact that such a case took place, the problem is also how the facts are being investigated,” stated Kozhoridze.

Kozhoridze says that he has suspicions with regard to the case investigator as well.

“When the Public Defender’s Office revealed information over the torture case, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office stated that the information was belated, as the fact took place several days ago. They claimed that the delay would negatively affect the investigation process. We are observing the investigation process and have several questions, we even appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office to change the investigator,” Kozhoridze said.

“If both, NGOs and the Ombudsman will have monitoring access to prisons, it will bring benefits. This is the approved method all over the world,” states another NGO Constitution Article 42.

The Ministry of Corrections has not yet responded to the NGO’s request about alternative monitoring access.