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OMCT Demands the Release of Molashvili

30.09.2004

OMCT Demands the Release of Molashvili

Geneva, September 29th, 2004

Mr. President Saakashvili,

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the world’s largest network of NGO’s fighting against torture, has been informed by the Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre (HRIDC), a member of the OMCT network, of the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of Mr. Sulkhan Molashvili, the Ex-chairman of the Chamber of Control of Georgia, on April 24, 2004 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

According to the information received, on April 24, 2004, Mr. Molashvili came to the General Prosecutor’s Office upon his own free will, after being informed that the government was going to detain him. He was taken to a pre-trial detention cell in Tbilisi’s Main Department of the Interior Ministry. According to Mr. Molashvili, on that very day he was tortured with electric shocks and lit cigarettes, the bruises of which can still be observed on his body. He was also subject to psychological pressure. According to the information received, independent medical experts, like Ms. Maia Nikilaishvili, have confirmed this information, stating that Mr. Molashvili is in a “terrible emotional situation” and that what can be seen on his body “is quite serious and is confirmed to be inflicted from torture”.

Mr. Molashvili denied the torture for two and a half months, presumably because he hoped that if the information about his torture was not spread it would help him to stay alive in the place of detention and to later regain freedom.

As for the official charges against him, Mr. Molashvili is allegedly charged with abuse of power and apportionment of 37,201 GEL bonus to serve his personal well-being as Chairman of the Chamber of Control. According to the information provided, no investigative measures regarding Mr. Molashvili’s personal participation have been taken since the day of his detention, despite the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office demanded that if he wanted to be released he had to pay a certain amount of money. Later on, they demanded Mr. Molashvili to purchase a “dacha”  (summer house) in Tsavkisi and then, “on his own accord,” hand it over to the state. The dacha was announced to be Mr. Molashvili’s property and was shown on television at the time of his detention. (In fact, the owner of the house is quite a different person and Mr. Molashvili is not related to him). On July 14, the Prosecutor’s Office accused Mr. Molashvili of misappropriation of 3 million GEL.

In addition, Mr. Molashvili was reportedly taken on July 4 to Jail #7 (in the building of the Interior Ministry) and placed in a small, dark cell in unbearable circumstances. There is no water or chair in the cell.

Despite the involvement of such experts as Ms. Nana Kakabadze (chairwoman of Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights) and Mr. Matthias Eorsh (chairman of the COE Monitoring Council Group), the condition of Mr. Molashvili has only been slightly changed, in that the cell where he is being detained is now being repaired (i.e. officials are installing electric lighting there and it is said that water devices will also be installed).

According to the information received, Mr. Valeri Grigalashvili, the city Prosecutor, responded to the fact of Mr. Molashvili’s torture by saying that he had not been tortured and that the information was false. Mr. Valeri Grigalashvili as well as the Head of The Medical Department of The Justice Ministry, who is responsible for taking care of the prisoners’ health, expressed scepticism regarding the medical examination of the victim. Mr. Valeri Grigalashvili reportedly announced at a conference held in July in Tbilisi that a criminal case regarding the injuries to Mr. Molashvili has been launched and the investigation will establish the reason for the injuries. The investigation was reportedly launched on July 5, 2004.

OMCT wishes to express its deepest concerns for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Sulkhan Molashvili and urges the immediate release in the absence of legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times. OMCT also urges the authorities of Georgia to ensure that the ongoing investigation on the injuries suffered by Mr. Sulkhan Molashvili is thorough and impartial, in order to bring those responsible to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law and guarantee that adequate reparation is provided to the victim.

Thank you for your careful consideration in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Eric Sottas
Director

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