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On Recent Developments in Georgia

 

On September 18, several Georgian TV channels showed videos about torture and abuse of prisoners at Gldani prison N 8.

The crimes shown in the videos are vicious and shocking, they completely contradict those values Georgia adheres to.

The Georgian Government's response has been swift, certain, and clear. Immediate action has been taken to protect the rights of prisoners, improve transparency in the prisons and hold those responsible for both the crimes and the failure of the system to account.

It is our individual, moral obligation, it is our constitutional and international commitment to prevent torture and ensure respect of human rights.

President Saakashvili immediately addressed the nation, denouncing the abuse and noting that "Georgia shall not and will not tolerate such behavior - in its prisons or anywhere else";

National Security Adviser Bokeria stated: "We, as a government, made a grave mistake when we did not properly evaluate the signals coming from the Ombudsman and other civil society groups about the systemic problems in the penitentiary system";

Prime Minister Merabishvili said: "I will personally ensure the eradication of torture and acts against human dignity in the penitentiary system."

Government started to take all necessary steps to complete the overhaul and reform of the prison system and to rebuild the trust of the Georgian people.

All prison guards in the most problematic penitentiary facilities have been suspended. Director and Deputy Director of the Gldani prison as well as all prison guards who perpetrated the crimes shown in videos were arrested. The patrol police, one of the most trusted institutions in Georgia, have been sent in to secure the prisoners and ensure the protection of human rights. Both current as well as former Ministers of Correction have resigned. Public Defender of Georgia, who for years has been the most renowned critic of violations in penitentiary system and worked closely with Georgian civil society and human rights groups, was appointed as a new Correction Minister. He immediately started set of reforms aimed at fully protecting prisoners' rights.

 
 
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