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“Demetradze Might Be Killed But Publicly Reported as Suicide”

08.09.2011

“He told me unbearable situation might compel him to hang himself up.”

Eka Asatiani, “Kviris Palitra”

Former player of the Georgian National Football Team Giorgi Demetradze is in poor conditions in prison. He was convicted for the membership of the criminal world and sentenced to 6-year-imprisonment. At the moment, he is waiting for the discussion of his cassation suit and decision of the Supreme Court.

Demetradze was offered plea-bargain where one of the main requirements to him was to plead guilty. He refused and now is punished for his disobedience. Lawyer Marika Pkhaladze said the prisoner is on the edge of suicide. The lawyer disseminated the information last week but penitentiary department is not hurrying to respond to it.

Marika Pkhaladze, lawyer: “I have not seen Giorgi for more than one week. Supposedly I will visit him next week and hopefully he will be a bit better. He was in hard situation; almost on the edge of suicide. When I met him, he sat far from me saying he had not cleaned teeth and taken bath for three weeks and did not want to bother me by sitting close to me. The prison administration does not allow him to buy things in the prison shop by card. Demetradze asks for the card everyday but in vain. Can you imagine, hygiene items including toilet paper have not been sent to Demetradze’s cell for the last three weeks…

Prisoners serve their terms in terrible smell and mess that is equal to torture. It started after he was taken to Rustavi prison # 6. In fact he is hungry. They serve beans only on Wednesday and Friday; on other days terrible food is served in the custody and inmates cannot eat it. Once Giorgi tried to eat it but he got sick. According to the rule, prisoners shall be taken to fresh air for one hour or one and half hour every day but he cannot enjoy this right either.

He told me – due to his unbearable situation, he might hang himself up. I request to cancel all restrictions for Demetradze and urge to the Public Defender, human rights parliamentary committee to take adequate measures to resolve the problem.

-Do other prisoners also serve their terms in similar conditions or the prison administration intimidates only Demetradze?

-Apparently, the administration placed more or less unacceptable prisoners in one cell. They cannot use ID cards. I asked Giorgi why he was punished, maybe he had any incident with other prisoner but he refused. He said he tries not to incite aggression from the administration by his behavior.

Nana Kakabadze, NGO Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights: “The prison administration breaches the law when they do not allow the prisoner to use the ID card. Inmates can purchase hygiene items only with those cards. Prison food is cooked by low-quality oil that is second-hand product and is harmful for health. Person should rather be hungry than eat similar food. Disobedient prisoners, who refuse to cooperate, to admit espionage, who refuse to denounce somebody, are punished with similar methods. We try to inform international organizations about these violations; however, before they respond to the problem, Demetradze’s nerves might already be broken down by torture. I get shocked hearing about a prisoner who thinks off suicide. I do not exclude possibility that Demetradze might be killed but later reported as a suicide.”

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