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One More Dead Prisoner – Human Rights Center Requests Liability of the Minister

04.06.2012

Several days ago, prisoner Valeri Japaraidze, whose health conditions became extremely gross lately, died in Prison # 17.

The convicted was seriously ill and according to the law he was to be early released due to his health conditions but it did not happen.

Human Rights Center represented Valeri Japaridze at the court. On May 28, the Center’s lawyer Nestan Londaridze was at Prison # 17 where she was informed about the death of the prisoner.

In 2010, Human Rights Center appealed to the European Court of Human Rights with regard to Valeri Japaridze’s case. The lawsuit to the ECHR alleges violations of Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture) and Article 13 (right to legal defense) of the European Convention.

The lawsuit states that since his detention (July 28, 2005; was charged under Article 179 of the Criminal Code of Georgia - assault) prisoner Japaridze was subjected to torture and inhuman treatment. Namely, he wrote in the lawsuit that six police officers had beaten him during the detention; he even named one of the harassers – Murtaz Chkadua in his appeal statement. Initially Japaridze was taken to the regional police department in Zugdidi and later to the main police department in Digomi, Tbilisi.

Human Rights Center believes that Article 3 of the European Convention – prohibition of torture -was breached with regard to Japaridze and particularly focused on this issue in its lawsuit to the Strasbourg Court.

Namely, the case materials show that six police officers beat Valeri Japaraidze during the detention. Before death the prisoner claimed that he could recognize one of the harassers. As a result of injuries, Valeri Japaridze permanently suffered from pains in the back part of his head; he could not smell food during eating. Effective investigation was not carried out to find and punish harassers, which violates the procedural part of the Article 3 of the Convention.

During imprisonment Japaradze was in inhuman conditions. Namely, in Prison # 5 he did not receive adequate medical treatment. It is also noteworthy that by time of detention Valeri Japaridze already had tuberculosis.

After detention, Valeri Japaridze was placed in the cell designed for 28 inmates in Prison # 5 but there were 100 inmates in the cell. A long list of the convicted person’s diseases farther aggravated his conditions; he permanently suffered from physical and moral pain. So, he was subjected to inhuman treatment.

In addition to that, no medical treatment was provided for Valeri Japaridze except 9-month period after what he was sent back to jail based on the prison administration’s allegation that Japaridze was “simulator.” Consequently, the prisoner could not take proper medical treatment for a long time though he was seriously ill and needed permanent medical observation. Despite a long list of his diseases, the convicted was serving his term in the custody of close system; the administration allowed him to take a walk only for 40-60 minutes once a week.

Extreme inattention towards the prisoner had negative impact on his health. Medical personnel never visited him except several formal visits which ended without any results. Moreover, despite his requests, the jail doctor did not visit him at all.

Human Rights Center is concerned about indifferent treatment and inattention towards prisoners and the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Aid of Georgia is responsible for it.

Unfortunately, decision-maker institutions still continue formal approach towards the prisoners that makes the opportunity guaranteed by the Georgian law to early release seriously sick prisoners from imprisonment useless that results into violation of the prisoners’ rights to life.

Human Rights Center believes that because of high mortality among prisoners and negligence towards seriously sick prisoners, the liability of high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Aid, including the Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, shall be raised. Prison administration members or ministry officials neglect law requirements that results into mortality and other deplorable facts; those facts shall be investigated and perpetrators must be punished. Thus, we will be able to avoid mortality of prisoners in future and large-scale violation of their rights.

Human Rights Center

04.06.12

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