Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi
56-year-old Levan Abzianidze died in Kutaisi on June 17. Two persons took him to the Imereti Regional Division of MIA, from where he was taken to the Narcological Center. He took a drug test, but it did not show that he was under influence of drugs. Few minutes later, on his way from the Narcological Center, he died in the park near his house.
“This person was a taxi driver. He kept his family with it. He was parked at the bus-stop when two persons in civilian clothes approached him and asked him to drive them to Tskaltubo. Later, they made him turn from the road and without any agreement took him to the Narcological Center. They made him drink diuretics, after which he felt ill and informed them about it. He was told to go home to get better. He called his son on his way and told him what had happened and that he did not feel well,” – said Gia Lominadze, representative of the Georgian Harm Reduction Network’s member organization.
Criminal case was launched under article 115 of the Criminal Code, which means bringing a person to a point of suicide. The relatives of the deceased request impartial investigation: “they made him drink a huge amount of diuretics, which caused drop of pressure that finally resulted into his death. They killed the person and must be prosecuted,”- they said.
The fact that there were no traces of drug in Abzianidze’s blood is confirmed by the Narcological Center.
Humanrights.ge addressed to the Imereti Region Division of the MIA to find out who were those two persons, who deceptively took Abzianidze to the Imereti Regional Division of MIA, from where he was taken to the Nargological Center; representatives of the MIA refrained from naming those persons and redirected us to MIA press center. Manager of the press center Tato Kutchava clarified: “Of course, they were police officers. Their names are confidential. If you want to get this information you have to request it officially, contact us electronically and you will get it within the period established by law.”
While talking with humanrights.ge, Kutchava denied the fact that they made Abzianidze to drink the medicine in the Narcological Center (as he told his son before he died), but he confirmed the fact that there were no traces of narcotics in his blood. How real is the version of MIA, what caused the death of this person, will be determined by forensics expertise. Representatives of the Imereti Bureau of Samkharauli National Forensics say the conclusions will be known in a month.
“This is astonishing fact but not unprecedented. Unethical and faulty street drug testing practice, which already causes people’s death, has been established in our country. They take people to the Narcological Center whether they are under influence of drugs or not. More than 60 thousand citizens were taken to the drug test from the streets in 2013-2014. Only 30% of them had a positive result. Recommendations of EU on visa liberalization clearly indicate that the practice of street drug testing requires revision. It is time for our country to consider the experience, recommendations of leading countries and start conducting effective measures in this regard. We, on our part, have repeatedly called for Government on this subject with different activities,”-told the Chair of GENPUD board, the Manager of NGO “New Vector”, Koka Labartkava to humanrights.ge.
This incident was followed by protest rally in Kutaisi. The locals protest the violation of human rights, power abuse by law enforcement officers and their unprofessionalism.
Humanrights.ge decided to hear the opinion of a psychologist.
“They detain people based on absolutely absurd suspicions, or based on the information received from an incompetent person. Despite the fact that our law enforcement officers allegedly consider the experience of leading countries, I think that a person shall be detained based on incontrovertible facts. An opinion of a police officer cannot be considered as an objective measurement. Each cases like this, especially if a person is not guilty, cause severe mental stress and it is quite possible to have fatal results for those who have poor health,”- said psychologist David Forchkhidze.
Member organizations of Georgian Harm Reduction Network plan to hold large demonstrations regarding this issue. It is planned to have different types of activities across the Georgian regions on June 26.