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Yulia Lyshenko

Georgia: Tortures at Tbilisi Prison

According to the official statement of Chief Prosecutor of the Republic, Murtaz Zodelava, due to investigation of the torture of prisoners at Gldani Prison No. 8 (located in one of Tbilisi districts) ten people were detained.

The infamous video from the Prison No. 8


Among those detained were several of Gldani prison staff and the Deputy Head of Penitentiary Department, Gaga Mkurnalidze.  Data Akobia, another guard who according to his lawyer filmed the tortures (although he was not named by the prosecutor) was held on Armenian-Georgian border.

The case of the torture of prisoners is investigated under the articles of ‘Inhuman or Degrading Treatment” and “Torture”.

According to investigators, in the Gldani prison several groups have been charged of torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners. One of these groups was leaded by Vladimir Bedukadze, an on duty operative inspector, declared wanted, and Levan Purtshvanidze, the head of the security division; the latter group videoed their actions and then passed on the materials to third parties.

Persons responsible for the transfer of video materials were Tamaz Elizbarashvili, a prisoner, and Tamaz Tamazashvili, a supporter of the coalition “Georgian Dream”.

The scandal of torture in a Tbilisi jail started on September 18. Georgian Interior Ministry released some of the videos (reportedly filmed by the prison officers), with emphasis on the fact that the rest of the video “is unacceptable for public viewing”. But that night, the opposition TV channels broadcast the brutal raping and beatings of prisoners, saying that they got the full video version of what is happening at Gldani prison.

After showing the footage, people held spontaneous demonstrations and protest ralliesin the capital and many other Georgian cities,  demanding better protection of prisoners. In the morning of 19 September, it was reported that Georgian Minister of Corrections, Probation and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze resigned in connection with the events at Gldani prison.


Translated by Maryia Aukhimovich

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