Tbilisi Robbery Suspects Accuse Police of Abuse
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, December 15(TBILISI)--David Saralidze and Levan Kupatadze, two men accused of attempted robbery in Tbilisi, have accused the city police of kidnapping, unlawful detention and abuse while in custody.
The men claim they were abducted by members of Tbilisi police forces and physically abused while in custody. Both men also said the police forced them to give false testimonies and plead guilty prior to being brought before a judge.
The two men deny the charges and say they are being framed for the crime.
“The police officers kidnapped us, put handcuffs and pushed us into a car. They then brutally beat us and demanded that we plead guilty to robbery...which we didn’t commit,” said Saralidze in an interview with local TV Company Rustavi-2. He went on to say that they were kept locked inside a squad car for up to 5 hours.
In his statement Saralidze said that a medical examiner confirmed the existence of specific injuries on his body, and photos of the bruises and contusions inflicted by the police were taken after he visited a doctor.
Both men claim they were taken by the police to enter a flat in Tbilisi’s central Saburtalo District and forced to leave their fingerprints. They were then taken to a police station and charged with robbery.
“The police are trying to frame them for robbery to improve the statistics of unsolved cases,” said Inga Bolotauri, the lawyer representing the two men.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs released a statement saying an internal investigation has been launched following the accusations against the police.
Saralidze and Kupatadze were arrested on December 1. Tbilisi City Court released the men on bail and scheduled their first hearing for January 11, 2018.